Long intro: When 2013 came to an end, I wasn’t super reflective. I do think I grew in some ways in 2013: as a writer, as a wife, and hopefully as a person, but I also struggled with things I’ve always struggled with, frustrated that I just could not move past them. 2013 wasn’t a great year or a terrible year, but just like every other year of my life it was important, because just like every other year of my life it shaped me. But New Year’s has gotten to where it feels so blase to me, which is the biggest reason why I didn’t feel the need to reflect on New Year’s Eve and makes all kinds of resolutions for the new year.
But that being said, making goals for myself, regardless of the time of year is important to me. Last February I decided to start this blog and set some writing goals for myself. Well, I failed at the writing goals, or… maybe not. I did fail at meeting the specific goals, but as I look back on them now I realize they weren’t really the right goals for me. I did write more, increasingly more thanks to NaNoWriMo, a goal I had not set for myself in February of last year but I achieved and am so proud of myself for having accomplished it. This year, I have more writing goals (in addition to reading and blogging goals) for myself that may or may not get met, because they may or may not be the right goals for me. But the bottom line of these goals is to pursue them, the heart behind them, and take the steps I need to at this point in time for my life. I don’t want to bite off more than I can chew, but I don’t want to hold myself back either. This year, I want to continue to strive for balance.
All that being said, here are my goals for 2014, related largely to writing, blogging, and reading.
1. Read Les Miserables
I know this is a crazy goal. This book is over 1000 pages long. But my sweet husband got this book for me after I mentioned it on the blog, and the good thing about him doing that is that it was the push I needed to actually motivate myself to read this chunkster. So here’s the goal: to take as much time reading this book as I need, chapter by chapter, this year. Instead of sitting down with this book and reading it straight through, I will read a few chapters here and there, at my leisure, and my only goal for finishing is to have it done by the end of the year. And if I have to carry it over to next year, as long as I’m still reading it, I don’t think that should be marked as a failure. The resolution is to just keep moving forward. The goal is completion by December 31, 2014.
This may sound a little silly, but this year I found it easy to get so caught up in what other people hyped that I would start reading books I didn’t have much interest in. This did pay off sometimes (The Book Thief, Cinder), but sometimes it backfired (Under the Never Sky). I read about a fifth of what most of my fellow book bloggers read last year, so I have to be selective. So that means I am going to try this year to more carefully choose what exactly I read, based on multiple reviews and dissecting what people are saying in those reviews. I may still end up disappointed (for instance, I wanted to read and love The Testing desperately and it had nothing to do with hype), but that’s OK, but you can still learn from reading something you don’t love.
3. Continue to Expand My Reading Horizons by Reading the Following…
Here are a few more reading goals rolled into one…
1 more Jane Austen book: I read Pride and Prejudice in college, then in 2012 and 2013 I made the effort to read another one of her works in each of those years (Northanger Abbey in 2012 and Persuasion in 2013). I love her stories but not her writing style, so it is a little bit of a challenge for me. This year I am thinking I’ll probably read Emma.
1 classic science fiction book: This will probably either be Ender’s Shadow or Do Androids Sleep of Electric Sheep?. I really want to read more in the science fiction genre as my appreciation for science fiction in TV and movies has grown.
1 writing book: In 2012 I read a writing book as well as in 2013, and I think both helped me some. I believe that as a writer, it’s important I continue the practice of reading books about writing. There are some books about plotting I might like into, or Stephen King’s writing memoir On Writing.
1 non-fiction book: In addition to the writing book, I want to read another non-fiction book. The one I feel is the most likely candidate right now is 1776, but it’s possible I may choose to read an autobiography, a psychology book, or even a science book (if I can find one my unscientific brain can comprehend). Of course, I think reading more than one would be ideal, but I’m aiming for at least one. (I read two last year.)
4. Blog When I Want to Blog
I have been pretty much doing this for the past few months, but I want to try even harder to not feel too much pressure from inconsistent blogging this year. I do think consistent blogging is great, but I have other things in my life I need to manage, and more passions to pursue. But I certainly have no intention of leaving you all hanging completely. I have met some wonderful people in the blogsphere and I’m not leaving you now! 🙂 If it wasn’t for you, I know I wouldn’t have kept the blog going this long.
5. Blog Only Meaningful Content
I think this goes hand-in-hand with my previous goal. I want to blog not only when I want to, but also what I want to.
6. Focus on One Writing Project at a Time
This is going to be crazy hard, because I have bad writing ADD. I have literally started over a dozen novels, but how many have been completed? Four. Two of those four belong to a much larger story arc of a series that I still have not completely worked out yet, and one I just wrote this last year for NaNo. (The other is my long labor of love that I have been working on since high school, but I am giving it more room to breathe right now) This year, I want to focus on my story from NaNo. Start revising and rewriting, get beta readers, rewrite and edit again, get more beta readers, rewrite and write again, and then hopefully, if all goes well…
7. Start Querying Agents
Last year, I set a goal to start this process in March 2014. That was unrealistic because up until November, I was still suffering from Writing ADD. If I am fortunate enough to feel that my project is ready for querying this year, it will be later in the year. Right now, I am thinking I would love to start this process in September, but if I start at any point this year I would love that. And if I don’t, hopefully 2015 will become that year for me. Again, as long as I am actually working on writing and not getting distracted and doing the very best I can, I will be satisfied with that progress.
I let writing fall by the wayside most of the year for blogging and reading. I don’t really regret it because blogging helped me write, helped me read, and helped me better understand the publishing process and industry. And of course I can’t regret reading because it helped me write, and of course it’s just rewarding in of itself. Really, writing and reading will probably be more a joint top priority, as I will probably read during lunch at work and write when I get home. But blogging will definitely suffer a little because of this schedule, and I hate that, but…
9. Pursue my Passions More Seriously
This is vague, but I have specific things in mind when I say this, some of which I mentioned here. Writing, creativity, stories are all my passion, and I want to more seriously pursue ways to incorporate these things in my life. Blogging helped me with that some this year, but I do feel I want to pursue other routes with these passions this year.
10. Prepare for 30
As much as I have a hard time acknowledging this, I’m in my late twenties now, and I’m not getting any younger. With 30 not too far down the road for me, I want to try harder over the next few years to make a more conscientious effort to prepare for the third decade of life physically especially, by eating better, becoming more active, buying better skincare products, etc. I am sure there are other ways I need to prepare for 30, so I will be trying to recognize those and do them as I go.
What are your goals for 2014?