I used to get all gloomily sentimental about the end of the year. Especially when I was a misunderstood, poetic, over-dramatic teenager, I used to collect data of the year that went by and make lists of what was important to me, what I accomplished, who broke my heart, what I could expect and who I should be the following year. I can still remember listing Madonna songs on my 1984 list and then wondering, why did I write this? I don’t even like Madonna.
Fortunately for the world, I’ve outgrown my sentimental ways, (although I’m still poetic and overly dramatic.) I have learned not to put too much value on the past — it was just stuff that happened, and since there are new lists made every year, the value of them isn’t that great. There will always be best of lists, and it doesn’t matter too much whether I loved it or loathed it.
I’ve also learned to live in today and not get wrapped up in predicting what could happen. (Somewhere in my 20s, I realized that too much excitement could lead to some big disappointments.) But what I do do is think about how to start fresh with a New Year.
This whole 10 Minute Writer gig has taught me a lot about how a little bit done every day can accomplish a lot — so this year, as I put my goals together (and break them down into bite-size chunks) I’m thinking BIG.
I have big writing goals and I have big reading goals.
My reading goal for 2014 is to read 60 books. In 2013, I read 50, which is slightly less than one a week. This doesn’t sound like a whole lot, but believe me when I say this, the only way I was able to meet this goal was to give up television in the evening, then you realize how pressed I am for time. Sixty will be a little bit harder, but manageable in my opinion. (Maybe I’ll only pick short ones!)
The way I’m tracking my goals is with the #EmptyShelfChallenge put together by Jon Acuff. He does a better job explaining this than I do, so read his take and go find it on Pinterest. I don’t have an actual shelf — because I’m the go to the library kind of reader — but I did create an empty shelf category on my Goodreads account. This will do all the counting for me and allows my Goodreads buddies to see what I’m up to. YAY!
Do you want to do this too? Here is my not-quite so condescending checklist of how you can!
Step Two: Put your Elf On A Shelf in a big box! Clear off a shelf for the Empty Shelf Challenge! Then as you read a book, put it on the shelf.
Step Three: Feel smug that you patronize your local library and you’re not going to fill an empty shelf. (This is my plan, see.) Instead, sign up for an account on Goodreads and set a goal for 2014.
Step Four: Gloat over all you read! These are the books I read in 2013!
My favorites were Beautiful Ruins, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, The Complete Works of Flannery O’Connor, Gone Girl, Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell, The Fault In Our Stars, and The Year of Secret Assignments. If you have the Goodreads app on your phone, then you can shop for titles at your local library!
Step Five: Start reading. Turn off the television. Step away from the computer. Just read and keep track.
Okay, so now that I’ve decided to ingest 60 books worth of words into my brain this year, I’d like to re-hash them in my brain and share new thoughts with the world. I have a writing goal too! Writing 365,000 words in 365 Days!
This is not my idea, it’s my critique partner, Jane’s. She conquered Nanowrimo this year and had so much fun with it, especially tracking how much she had done and how far she had to go. She challenged me to keeping writing 1,000 words a day. Now, I have a LOT of big plans for this blog, my future website, future books (both fiction and not) and 1,000 a day would go a long way to help me meet those goals. A thousand words a day used to be intimidating to me, but it’s not any more. I can do this. I KNOW I can.
She and I created a joint spreadsheet on Google docs so that we could hold each other accountable. I can’t wait to see how this is going to turn out. Apparently, I have a bit of a competitive streak and it will give me no greater joy than to always be a couple thousand words ahead of her in this task. I’m planning on writing them first thing every morning and take advantage of the fact that I live in the Eastern time zone and she lives in the Central. (Neener, neener, neener!)
What about you? Do you have reading goals? Writing goals? How have you broken them down in to bite-sized portions? Share them!
And find me on Goodreads!