Short intro for this list: Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. Today’s topic is my Top Ten Goals/Resolutions for 2014 (bookish, not bookish, or a blend).
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.
2. Only Read What I Want to Read
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, but sometimes it backfired. 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, 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.
8. Make Writing a Top Priority
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?
I have a goal to only read what I want to read too. Sometimes the hype just gets me!
Good luck with your writing goals! I tend to flop from project to project too. I finished a manuscript at the end of 2013 and it was amazing because though I’ve been writing all my life, it was the first one I actually finished. The amount of half-started stories I have. . .
I have a ridiculous number of partial stories! I’m trying so hard to stay focused now! Congrats on the manuscript you have finished; that’s awesome!
I agree that setting goals for oneself is important (and better than vague “new year resolutions”), and I love to see that you’ve learned from the ones you set last year and are adjusting. That’s what I’ve done, too!
I have similar goals as far as blogging: quality over quantity, and only when I feel like it! I’m excited that you’re going to start querying agents, too! Best of luck with your writing endeavors. 🙂 I also have to commend you for thinking ahead and preparing for 30 a couple years in advance. 30 crept up on me way too quickly. I’d made a goal to start a retirement fund before I hit 30 – and while I did look into it eventually — I’m past 31 now and STILL don’t have one! >_<
Well, I HOPE I’m going to start querying agents! I want to feel confident I have quality material before I start the process, but I’m REALLY hoping I can achieve that this year! 🙂
I want to say first off I put in my vote for Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? over Ender’s Shadow! I love that book so much. It’s quirky and easy to read, even with all the weird stuff going on in it. I can’t recall if you said you’ve seen Bladerunner yet. If you have, the book is much different than the movie version, so it’s like getting another story almost.
Second, I love how much thought you’ve put into your goals for this year. I’ve run across so many TTT lists this morning and most of them feel like they were put together last minute. This is actually why I never do TTT, because I can never think of these things when I need to. I did set some life goals for myself for the coming year that I’ll be keeping track of on my blog. And of course I’m combing over my favorite blogs for more ideas to add to my own list. 🙂 Your goals of blogging only when you want, and leaving only meaningful comments are two I want to work on myself. I like to think I leave meaningful comments already, but would like to increase how often I actually comment. I’ve been neglecting the blogosphere for a while now and I want to get out of that.
I wish you the best of luck with querying, and focusing on one writing project at a time! I know how hard it is to have a ton of creative things you want to get your hands in, and having a bunch of unfinished things because it’s hard to pick one to stick to.
I really want to read both… Ender’s Shadow is a carry-over wish from last year, and Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep has become a much more recent desire after these two podcasts I listen to (which are done by the same people) keep going on and on about it and Bladerunner, which I have not seen yet. So hopefully I’ll read both this year, but I’m trying to give myself some flexibility! If I read one this year though, I’ll probably choose Do Androids Sleep of Electric Sheep because it feels like a MUST.
I try my best to only do TTT when I have something to say, though there have been a couple of times where I kind of phoned it in.
And thank you! It’s hard to focus but I hope by announcing my writing goals to the world it might help me more!
Love the list! good luck with all your resolutions 🙂
I know exactly what you mean about only reading the books you want to read. I started blogging in June and once I read the Hunger Games it opened me up to so many other YA books that *everyone* in the book blogosphere was raving about and I felt like I had to catch up with them. Some of the books I read were great and I’m glad I read them (like THG!) but there were still some books that I just wasn’t keen on and wouldn’t have picked up myself. This year I plan to read what I want to read and if a book is doing the rounds on the blogosphere I’m only going to pick it up if it’s something that I’m interested in. I definitely found it hard not to get caught up in the hyped books this year as it was all so new to me.
Good luck with all your goals, especially the writing ones!
The Hunger Games trilogy was really the first YA books I discovered too, other than a few I read when I was a teen, and I too sought out more. That was in 2011, and so that year and in 2012 I found some blogs like the ones I read frequently now, that talked about other dystopia books likes Divergent (which I read and liked) and Delirium (which I started and DNF’d), but there was no pressure to keep up with these people until 2013, ha. And then everything was you have to read this! And this! Ack! So much! I appreciate the enthusiasm but I definitely can’t keep up with it all. I have to discern what I want to read the most!
Oh, do read Les Miserables. It is daunting, but so worth it (not to try to make you already break goal #2)!
Ha ha, no, I want to read it, so you’re not making me break my rule! I think it will be worth it in the end!
I just recently finished reading Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? It was a good read. I haven’t seen Blade Runner yet, so that’s next on the watch list. I think Brave New World or A Scanner Darkly will be my next reads.
A Scanner Darkly sounds familiar, but I can’t think of what it might be about… I’ll have to look it up. Someone recommended Brave New World to me in high school and I still haven’t gotten around to reading it, but need to.
A Scanner Darkly was also written by Philip K. Dick. They did a movie of it a few years ago.
He’s written a lot of stuff they’ve made into movies! Minority Report, Paycheck… yeah, I definitely want to check out his work this year.
At least when you start a huge book in the beginning of the year you can chip away at it. If you really get into you can read it like crazy. If it is just ok you can read a little and a little more. I made the mistake of starting a long book in October once, and man did it drag me down.
I need to make it a goal to read more varied genres. I get distracted by all the shiny, new books that are being reviewed. Most of those are YA. I do enjoy YA, but I need to read a lot of different types of books.
That was my line of thought as far as chipping away at it!
I definitely feel the same way about reading varied genres! I don’t have a problem with reading primarily YA since I enjoy it and I want to write YA, but I think it helps read a variety of genres for sure.
I like the the goal of reading only what you want to read – I have a real hard time not finishing a book, but recently I’ve started to put books down if I’m just not loving them. There are too many great books out there to waste time ploughing through one I’m not loving. Good luck in 2014! Happy writing! 🙂
Exactly! And thanks!
I loved 1776! It is a wonderful book. Don’t miss it! 🙂 One of my goals for 2014 is to read Moby Dick.
Oh good luck with that!
Read On Writing. Seriously. I just finishednit, don’t know why I took this long to read it, and it’s seriously the best one on writing I’ve ever read.
I definitely plan to!