A New Writing (and Reading) Year: 2021 Edition

Do you have any goals this year?

Usually I share this post on the first posting day of the new year, but because of last week’s special share, it got pushed to the second post. This is the time I talk about what I intend to accomplish this year, in several aspects of my life. Even with the way 2020 went, I still have plans and goals for 2021.

But let’s quickly talk about goal-setting in general, in case you have a desire to set your own goals.

It is important to make sure whatever goals you set are achievable. Sounds basic, right? Well, what I mean is that it would be risky for me to set a goal to travel more or to gain 1000 new readers. Traveling is still uncertain, and the number of readers I gain is mostly out of my control. If I set those goals, I’d be setting myself up for failure.

But I still want to set goals, despite the remaining uncertainty for 2021. I know I’ve said this time and time again, but setting goals – and expressing them in writing and/or verbally – can help you achieve them.

This year, I’m going to break it down more than usual. I’m going to set myself personal goals, reading goals, and writing goals. And I’m going to do my best to make the goals achievable and logical.

And away we go!

Personal Goals

This year, I’m really not sure where my personal life is headed. But I do know I want a few things:

  • Eat healthier. I’ve been trying to get back on board with this all pandemic. I can’t kid myself with saying I’m going to work out (that won’t last), but I can reduce my snacking and make healthier choices.
  • Take more walks. Maybe this is just getting up from my desk at work every hour or so. Maybe this is actually going on walks. Who knows? We’ll see.
  • Commit to drawing or some form of visual arts most days. This may sound odd to you, but I did Inktober this year and discovered 1) how much I missed drawing, and 2) it is actually huge self care for me. No one requires anything from me when I create art. It’s just for me. And just 20 minutes of drawing is enough to reset me, even if I don’t want to do it when I start. I always end up with a feeling of accomplishment and peace and renewed energy for life.

Reading Goals

I haven’t gotten to set my Goodreads challenge yet as of this writing (why do they make you wait until January??? I wrote this on New Year’s Eve!), but I know I want to increase my goal. The last two years, I read 92 books each (again, as of this writing… I have plans to read some more today, so there’s a chance I could check off one more). My goal last year was 80 books.

This year, I want to set that goal post a little tighter. 90 books.

But beyond that, I want to expand my reading again. I want to be a bit more intentional. I want to read at least one of the following books:

  • a classic – there are a few of these on my list I’ve never quite gotten around to reading
  • a nonfiction book in a subject that interests me – I have so many interests. I want to expand on some of them.
  • a diverse title – we need to read about the experiences of people who aren’t like us. It helps us learn and grow as people and creators.
  • an inspirational writing book (or a book for artists) – I have one I meant to read this year that I never quite go to.
  • a craft of writing book – again, I have one of these waiting for me.
  • re-read a favorite book or series – I tend to focus on new books and forget the ones I loved… even when I always want to re-read them because of how much I loved them. I’m thinking of the Ashfall books this year.

Writing Goals

This year, I have a lot on my plate as far as writing, and a few of my goals are intertwined with my personal life.

  • First, I want to readjust my writing schedule. I usually aimed for 1000 words written per day, but I’ve lost my habit, what with the new job. So this year, I want to get back on board with my writing schedule and keep drafting even when I have editing going on. I’m going to set this as 1000 new words MOST days… more often than not. I know I can’t promise myself every day.
  • Release 4 Seasons of Magic books
  • Begin releasing the Pie-Jinks series
  • Draft my next trad title to query
  • Work toward completing the This Curse series
  • Complete an audiobooks DIY course so I can create audiobooks
  • Complete an ads course I purchased in 2020
  • Put what I learn into practice

Final Thoughts

I have high hopes for what I can accomplish in 2021, after a difficult 2020. I can’t promise I’ll meet all these goals, but I will try. And that’s the important thing about resolutions or goals or whatever you want to call them.

If you don’t meet your goal (on your timeline), it’s important to have some compassion with yourself. You can only do your best. And it’s ok if you don’t do everything you planned. Life happens. Plans change. Priorities shift. And it’s ok to shift with them.

So now, it’s your turn. Are you setting any goals this year? Looking forward to anything new?

Tell me about it in the comments!

A New Writing Year: 2020

Wow. 2020. I can’t believe it’s already 20 years after Y2K! XD

In all seriousness, I’m so excited for a new year and new goals. I learned a lot last year, and this year I hope to learn and do even more.

But I’m not going to focus on personal goals this year; I’ll save that for the yearly wrap-up in December. Instead, I’ll focus on all the writing work I hope to accomplish in 2020, as well as update you all on where I’m at creatively.

As always, each of these goals has a number of smaller milestones and goals, so I’ll stick to bigger ideas. Otherwise, it’d get too big too fast! So here we go.

  • Finish This Cursed Shadow. Yup, that’s right. I’m still working on it, guys. I apologize for taking so long, but I want to make sure I can give you a quality piece of writing. When I have it close enough to ready, I’ll select a release date and hand over more info!
  • Publish “Freeze Thaw” and the spring, summer, and fall Seasons of Magic for the year. Freeze Thaw is currently with editors, and I’m beginning the spring story already!
  • Begin the newest project, to be released either during the release of the This Curse series or after that one is finished…depends how quickly I can get them done. But since you’re here and reading so patiently…let’s just say fox shifter urban fantasy! Be sure to subscribe to the newsletter for updates.
  • Land an agent! Yes, this one is less in my control, but I have high hopes for Sea of Broken Glass! I got a revise & resubmit in October, and I’m hoping to do the resubmit part by the end of January. And if that agent still passes, I know the book will be even better to keep looking for that perfect agent!
  • Improve my formatting skills. Right now, I can do basic formatting of my stories, but I’d love to improve that skillset to be able to make fancier interior spreads for you guys. I’m an artist, and I love making everything as pretty as I can!
  • Learn how to make book covers. This one is ambitious and will require that I take an online typography course and do some self study, but I’m hoping to be able to cover some of my own books in the future. I know not every author recommends making your own covers, but again, I’m an artist, and I’d like to at least learn how!

So that’s that! All the writing goals I hope to accomplish this year! I’m very excited for everything that’s to come and for all the projects going on, and I can’t wait to share it with you. 🙂

Thanks for a wonderful 2019, friends, and here’s to an even better 2020! Happy New Year!!!

~~~

Do you have any personal or writing/reading resolutions this year? What are they? Let’s chat in the comments!

Reward Yourself for Writing Well Done – Without Food

Ever want to treat yo self for making writing goals but not sure what you can use besides food? Read on!

Guys, I have to admit: I forgot to write my post this week.

I know, I know. I haven’t done that in ages! But turns out this week was a perfect storm of long day job days and a feeling like I could take a break. So my brain shut off entirely.

Why did I feel like I could take a break? I just sent my WIP (work in progress) off to betas this weekend. I’d been plugging away at revision 3 for months, behind copyediting (which led me to close copyediting services, because I just can’t get enough writing time lately), family trips, and personal obligations like my job. And when I finally hit “The End” of the manuscript and sent it off to my readers, I could finally take a deep breath.

Which leads me to today’s topic: reward yourself.

Now, plenty of people will tell you to reward yourself each accomplishment in your writing life: drafts complete, books published, even word count goal met for a day.

And I’m right behind those people.

But I want to talk about healthy rewards today. More specifically, non-food rewards.

Because a lot of those “reward yourself” people will tell you to indulge over and over again in unhealthy habits, like cake or candy. But you can’t use food rewards for yourself all the time. Especially if you’re like me and snack enough as it is. Or if you’re looking to reward yourself every day.

So what are some alternative rewards?

  1. A day(s) off. Yup, one of my biggest rewards for myself is letting myself take a guilt-free break from plugging away at manuscripts and marketing and researching. It’s heaven for my brain.
  2. A good book. For you, that could mean letting yourself buy a new book, but for me, it just means I give myself time to sit and read, again, guilt-free. No “I should be writing” in the background. I know it can be hard to turn off those voices, but seriously, sometimes you just gotta tell them “reading is part of my job.” Because it is. As a writer, you should be reading in your genre. And this works great as a daily reward, too. Writing goal met = reading time!
  3. Time out with family or friends. Let yourself go out to a restaurant, the movies, a bar, whatever. Or invite some people over. Or have a nice night in with your significant other. Let yourself focus on them.
  4. Spending time on something you love. This may be something artistic or some kind of activity, but let yourself have some extra time for that fun thing you’re always putting off because you “should be writing.”
  5. Work on something you normally can’t. Take a break from your current work (if you’re between drafts, it’s time to let it sit anyway) and write something just for the love of writing. There are tons of prompts out there, or you could do writing of a different sort, like poetry, or you could start something new (as long as you still finish your on-break project). I find it so refreshing to draft something new.

These are some of my favorite non-food writing rewards, but I’m sure there are tons more! I’m always looking for new ways to treat myself for writing well done, so feel free to take a moment and leave a comment with your favorite writing rewards below! And if that’s food, feel free to add that, too. 🙂

Keep writing, and don’t forget to reward yourself!

2018 Writing Goals

Hey there, friends! It’s the end of the year, so that means it’s a good time to reflect on the last year, both good and bad, and look forward to the year ahead. Today I’m going to share some of my personal and writing-focused experiences and goals for 2017 and 2018.

First, a look back on 2017. 2017 was a rough year, but it also had a lot of good in it. Here are the things I’m more than happy to say goodbye to:

  • I lost two of my grandparents.
  • I lost my cat, who I had for not long enough, due to genetic kidney disease.
  • There was way more than normal stress with different people in my life for different reasons.

And the good of 2017:

  • I got engaged!
  • I moved past my depression enough to say goodbye to medication (at least for now and hopefully forever).
  • My brother got married right before Christmas.

And the 2017 writing goals:

  • Regain my writing schedule. Status: IN PROGRESS. I don’t have a regular schedule, but I did get back enough to complete a draft of a novel and start a new one. I also participated in Camp NaNoWriMo in July (and completed it) and NaNoWriMo in November (I did not finish, but did surpass 30k words on a new fantasy novel).
  • Publish or get an agent for This Cursed Flame. Status: ALTERED. I made a lot of changes to the book over the summer, and, after a number of things not working out and re-evaluating my own goals for the book, I decided to publish it on Wattpad. You can read it here as I release chapters.
  • Finish Foxfire. Status: COMPLETE! I did manage to finish the draft of Foxfire, the first of hopefully many in an adult contemporary/urban fantasy series. I’m currently going through edits and revisions.

So what’s coming up in 2018? My wedding, in just under four months! I’m very excited to move on to this part of my life, and I’ve been very blessed to find a great guy who loves me, supports me, and pushes me to reach all my dreams and goals.

And now, what you’ve all been waiting for. My 2018 writing goals:

  • Write a little every day, no matter how much.
  • Complete Foxfire and get it to the query stage!
  • Complete my high fantasy in progress and begin edits.
  • Pick up an old story I had started, a YA fantasy thriller I’m currently calling Canary in the Coal Mine. (Yes, I mentioned this one before… so excited to get this one back out of the pile of dead ideas!)
  • And, finally, complete posting This Cursed Flame.

So what about you? What are your writing goals for this year? Share in the comments, and feel free to give some advice or ideas for how you plan to accomplish those goals!

Have a great new year, guys, and I hope it’s filled with success, love, and every good thing.

❤ Selina