Oh hey, it’s 2017. Today we woke up not only to a new day, but a new year. I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one happy to be done with 2016. Please, please, please, Fate, let 2017 be less traumatizing than 2016! There are so very many things I want to be different this year, but this is merely a personal book blog, so I’m going to concentrate on that. **No, no, politics, you cannot creep into this post. Down boy, down!**
On a personal, non-literary front (and I say this here in order to hold myself accountable) I intend to do a lot more yoga. Up until last year I was a five times a week girl and I loved it. I was feeling strong and svelte and accomplished. Then I broke my wrist (something I feel like I’ve mentioned a million times) and couldn’t practice. That shattered the habit and even once it had healed, I never managed to re-establish it. Unfortunately, as of this moment, I have to admit I haven’t been in months. (I’m still paying my membership dues though, much to my husbands irritation.) So, goal number one is more yoga and once I’m feeling confident in that, I need (not want) to add come cardio in too. I’m almost 40, my body needs that.
Goal number two is a repeat, I say this every year and mean it, but I’m going to do more writing this year. More importantly, I’m going to finish projects. I have at least three ‘books’ mostly written but abandoned because I don’t know where to go with them.
Look, I even have a snazzy new office space to write in. Up until just last week, all I had for a desk was a fold up picnic table. It worked, but wasn’t anything to be proud of. Look at me now! OK, look at us now, because that’s obviously a workspace for two. Mine is the side awash in blinding morning sunlight, by the way. I might have to wear sunglasses if I want to write before 10am.
Having a great space, and I consider that a GREAT space—my overflowing bookshelves are just out of frame to the right and my inspiration board across from the slatted chair—is an improvement. It’s not enough to hold me to task though. I intend to be viscous with my time this year. I’m starting the year with a regimented daily schedule. I mean, I’m scheduling tea breaks, writing time, research time, plotting time, etc. No hour will be unaccounted for. It’s not sustainable longterm, of course it isn’t. I anticipate it being miserable. But I’m hoping if I start this way I can force myself into more effective, habitual use of my time and be more productive.
If anyone has any advice for me, I am more than open to hearing it. I’m looking at bullet journals, anti-distraction writing devices, word count apps. Heck, my husband even suggested finding a group to join for the sole purpose of having someone to shame me when I fall down on my self-set goals. Because not being accountable to anyone is a weakness for me. So, what works for you? Tell me, please.
One of the biggest things I’m attempting to do with this plan is cut down on my reading time. I know, that sounds so wrong to me too. But I can’t write if my nose is stuck in someone else’s book, which it usually is. I think of reading in terms of books, not chapters or hours. I have almost no ability to set a book aside once I’ve started it, regardless of its length (or quality if I’m committed to not DNFing it). It’s a little obsessive. “I’ll do X when I finish this book,” means it’s really easy for me to dedicate all my time to reading and get nothing else done. This is a habit I HAVE to break. I just do.
Now, let’s not be hasty. This doesn’t mean I won’t be reading. I’ll be reading, let me assure you. I set a goal of 250 books on Goodreads, which is substantial, but still 100 fewer books than 2016. And I’ll be starting the year off with Blood Stained Tea , by Amy Tasukada. In fact, I plan to crack it open this afternoon. Reading is still on the docket. Just, you know, hopefully not to the exclusion of everything else.
I have other reading goals this year too. I’ve joined a couple challenges already and, being as it’s only January 1, there’s a good chance I’ll find more. But so far I’ve committed to my normal Alphabet challenge, where I read a book by an author of each letter of the alphabet. This really is just me being compulsive. It annoys me to see empty space under the letters on my reviews page. Hey, at least I’m aware of my tendencies.
I plan to do the #ReadDiverse2017 challenge, organized by Read Diverse Books, as well as the #DiverseReads2017 from Chasing Fairytales. They are much the same and obviously the idea is increase the diversity in the book I read.
To do this, I’m going to use the #DiversityBingo2017 card as a guide. Experience has taught me that despite my best intentions, unless I am conscious of the demographic of the characters I’m reading, they lack diversity. So, I like having something to prompt me to expand past white boys kissing and able-bodied, cisgendered, white girls running around fantasy worlds.
Since I’m starting at the beginning of the year, unlike last year, when I started #DiversityRomanceBingo in September, I plan to read a book for each square on the board. (Also like last year, I’ll remind myself of my own cautions: This is something that has to be approached respectfully. If it is reduced to just a game or something done for the social justice cookie, it risks tokenizing, objectifying and even commodifying the individuals represented.)
Speaking of girls running around fantasy worlds (my favorite), the Action Heroine Fan group runs a challenge to read female led action books, I’ll be doing it again this year. I set a goal of 35 such books.
And, lastly, I stumbled across the following excellent looking challenge by Belinda Missen. I particularly like that it includes old classics, new classics, diverse authors, fiction and non-fiction. It’s a good mix.
So, you see, I still have reading aspirations. Fear not. Plus, I am keeping myself open to review requests. Though, if I’m honest, those have tapered off. I make it pretty clear in my policies that I won’t be reading a lot of requests (I attempted 29 last year, though I didn’t finish all of them) and I think that puts authors off, as it should. I’m committing to one a month. If I receive books that interest me, I’m open to more, but I’ll read at least that many.
So, that’s my New Year’s resolution post for you. What do yours look like?