Welcome, readers, writers, and friends! Just about everyone has taken a turn at looking back at 2017, so we appreciate you checking in with us to revel in what we made of 2017.
Thank you again, regardless of how long you’ve known us, for supporting our work and sharing your kind words. Your friendship has meant the world to us, and we know we wouldn’t be where we are today without our real life and online friends & family. You rock!
Here’s a quick look at some of our favorite highlights from 2017. We probably didn’t remember everything, but the post can only be so long. Enjoy!
We Wrote Some Stuff
As writers are want to do, we did some writing this year! Blog-wise, we added 29 posts and 15 indie novel reviews which creates a grand total of 44 posts! Not too shabby!
If you’re interested, here’s a look at our top 10 posts:
- 12 Types of People You Meet as a Writer—LOTR Edition
- 8 Podcasts to Soothe Creatives & Pump Up Positive Vibes
- It’s 2017: How Can We Write More & Better Diverse Characters?
- 5 Strategies for Writing Realistic Dialog
- How Revisiting My Imposter Syndrome Helped Me Grow
- 5 Ways I’m Shifting My Writing Process for My Third Novel
- How to Up Your Nerd Fashion & Where to Find Your Gear
- Presenting: The #ThisIsWhyITen Instagram Challenge
- 6 Ways to Improve Your Instagram Platform
- 10 Things You Need to Know About My WIP, Destiny Seeker
We did more than just blog this year, thank goodness. Whitney managed to surprise herself by writing out a full manuscript in just a few months. It took a lot of planning but also a lot of doing, rather than wondering. There will be lots of rewriting and revision in the near future, but it’s a miracle we won’t soon forget!
Whitney has also been diligent with her journaling. She’s been an avid journal keeper since middle school and it’s still something she works on and updates. With all the politics and current events that barrage us every single day, it was life-saving to write about her feelings in her journal, in blog posts, or think pieces on social media.
Remember, when life is crazy or it feels like you have no control over the bad stuff, writing can save a life—yours or someone else’s.
Whitney Launched Two Instagram Challenges
Since Whitney is obsessed with Instagram, she wanted to host a few of her own challenges, and they were tough! It took a lot of planning and hoping that they were inclusive enough and encouraging enough so everyone would participate. Not a lot of people participated in either one, as it turned out, but it taught her a lot about building a community and creating fun stuff that builds up those who participate—not just the hostess.
In the meantime, it was a good excuse for Whitney to learn how to embroider! What? She still has a ways to go with that new hobby.
If you participated in either challenge, thanks so much for doing so! It meant a lot to us. We can’t wait to announce the winner of the #ThisIsWhyITen challenge soon!
Probably the most satisfying part of the year for him, Travis finished his undergrad. Finishing school was an immense relief for both of us, and we’re eager to see what’s in store now that we have the opportunity to stretch our limbs somewhere else.
Whitney Embraced the Pink
This year was certainly a year of finally getting her hair dyed! She went for rose gold earlier this year, then went full-on pink during the summer, and has been tinkering on and off with other products for the rest of the year. While she would still recommend getting your hair colored by a professional, it was still fun to try out Overtone products for less money.
It’s been really fun to rock the pink hair, so that’s not about to end. She’s open to trying other wacky colors as long as it looks good and doesn’t get her in trouble at work.
Travis Embraced the Frohawk
Because after doing the same thing with his hair for the better part of 25 years, why not try something new? He’s also been growing out his facial hair, which looks great on him.
Our Fashion Got a Bit Geekier
Well, Travis has always embraced the nerdy tee, but we both found some local nerd shops to purchase from and we’ve enjoyed that form of self expression. We’ve gone a bit beyond just the nerd shit and created fun new looks that include nerdy jackets and accessories to create a “Disneybounding-like” look. You can see Whitney’s top suggestions in her geeky fashion post in our top ten blog post list above.
Travis Ran an RPG Campaign
We wanted to try our hand playing an RPG in a setting we like, so Travis took the helm on a campaign set in the Star Wars universe, using the Fantasy Flight Games “Edge of the Empire” rules set. With the help of four friends, we embarked on a ship called The Kitchen to solve mysteries and save the galaxy, and post sick vids of our adventures on SpaceBook along the way.
Whitney Upped Her Freelance Editing Game
Half-way through the year, Whitney was able to revisit her editing services and outline them better on our Editing Services tab. Since then, she’s had the opportunity to work with amazing writers. Obviously, she hopes that’s a trend in 2018 as well.
It’s been an interesting experience to do the research and truly realize what your work is worth. You should definitely do the same as you look at your business goals for the year.
Whitney Learned More About Social Media Marketing
Part of the stress of staying relevant to your audience is figuring out how much social media is enough. Like, how much is effective, but how much is borderline annoying? With a bit of experience over the year and by trying new things, Whitney has been able to make new friends and see some success in social media marketing. She gives a lot of credit to Hootsuite and Buffer for helping with post scheduling especially. She also gives credit to the time she takes each quarter to plan out what she wants to post and otherwise think ahead.
Whitney Learned a Lot About Health Through a Personal Nutritionist
Yeah, so for about 6 months, Whitney met with Dez McQueen to learn more about what she could do each day to be healthier and stronger. She’s become somewhat of a gym rat and still eats a lot of great food. It’s been a topsy-turvy year with self-confidence, but it’s been a year of learning what is considered “healthy” for her. She enjoys a mix of weightlifting, Zumba, and yoga.
We Did More Cosplay
What a crazy time for cosplay! Travis and Whitney each made a new Jedi costume; Travis redid his Jedi costume design and really improved on what he created for himself, and I tried my hand at creating Rey’s new Jedi outfit from The Last Jedi. We were really happy with our progress even though we know we have a lot to learn with sewing and cosplay.
Whitney also improved on my Wonder Woman cosplay in honor of the movie that came out this year. She finally has all the accessories assembled, so that’ll be fun to share with you.
Whitney Learned a Lot About Herself Through Therapy
So, she has been pretty open about self-confidence and imposter syndrome through a few posts and regular updates on Instagram. She finally took her own advice and sought help from a local therapist and it’s been life-changing. Even though she’s 100% supportive of seeking professional help, it still feels weird to bring it up in normal conversation. Hopefully it becomes less and less weird as 2018 unfolds.
Life is often overwhelming and we want to meet each opportunity or challenge the right way, and sometimes that makes us anxious or depressed. Sometimes both. There’s nothing wrong with meeting with a therapist to ensure you’re getting through things in a healthy way or just to get a checkup. We know it’s a privilege to be able to afford the monthly visits, but we’d highly encourage therapy if you’re going through a rough time or need someone to talk to.
What’s in Store for the McGruders in 2018?
Well, when you figure it out, do let us know! Now that we’re both graduated and working full-time, who knows when or where we’ll end up next. We’d like to move and begin the next phase of our lives, but it’s easier said than done. until then, we’ll take the baby steps necessary to get there.
Tune in for more exciting updates as we have them. We promise 2018 will be anything but boring.