Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Reading & Writing Goals 2018

Reading Goals

A new year means a fresh look at reading goals for the year. I really like doing this, because it sets an intention to my reading that I then try to live up to as the year goes on. It means that I do less meandering, less glomming, and instead do more directed reading.

This is not to say there're no on-the-spur-of-the-moment books inspired by recommendations from sources I trust. I'm forever fiddling with my spreadsheet moving stuff around to make room for new stuff, but directed reading allows me to also read some the books I've always said I wanted to read. Sometimes, these books have a tendency to get lost under the allure of the ooh-shiny-new.

As a result, I have already planned out my reading through August. I had to spreadsheet everything in order to get through the books I have for review with deadlines attached to them and reading the books that I have had on my list for a while.

I will continue to maintain my detailed Spreadsheet of Joy. See my 2016 book sheet here. Last year, I didn't do a detailed data analysis of my reading like in 2016, but I hope to do it this year for my 2017 books.

I maintain a catalog of all the books I own on Library Thing and was an early adopter and a life member. I will continue to add new books there, including ARCs, that I keep on my shelves. I have become rather choosy of which books I keep, after taking a hard look at my shelves last summer and donating nine (!!) boxes to my public library.

Hundreds upon hundreds of books still remain on my shelves. My home library houses all the nonfiction. The study upstairs houses all the adult fiction and children's books. I can't bear to cull the nonfiction, since many of them have been collected with care from around the world. I need to be more ruthless in culling my fiction, especially the books that I haven't read in years, and buy fewer books. I spent $170 on books last year, and I hope to spend less this year and read more from my TBR and the library.

(One thing that I have forgotten to do, and need to catch up on, is including all the eBooks I own on my Kindle. Since I don't have physical evidence of those books, I seem to have missed cataloguing them.)

Writing Goals

I'm going to continue reviewing romance fiction and general fiction with romantic subplots for All About Romance. I will also continue writing my monthly Oldies & Goodies romance column for USA Today's Happy Ever After. In addition, I'm going to be recommending one new historical romance every month in my column Romancing the Past.

My blogging has changed over the years from a primarily writerly and history blog, to a commentary on the publishing industry, to a reader blog these days. I will continue to write my monthly round-ups of my reading with brief reviews. I am happy that in 2017, I wrote short reviews of every single book I read, including children's picture books. In addition to these round-ups this year, every month, I will be re-publishing one of my pieces that I wrote for Macmillan's Heroes & Heartbreakers over the years.

On a personal note, I plan on continuing to handwrite my dawn Morning Pages along with my Canadian friend Angela Reynolds. I enjoy the meditative aspects of the writing habit, which also gives me the opportunity to indulge in my obsession with fountain pens and inks and fine papers.

One of the mainstays of my past few years has been the maintenance of an online Gratitude Journal on Live Journal—I must be the last hold-out of a life membership there. Every day, I write down at least one good thing that has happened to me that day. As the years have gone by, I have come to appreciate the fact that every single day, no matter how bad, holds at least one minute moment of joy. Of course, on some days, I have nothing to say other that "it was a quotidian day," and that is okay, too. A routine day is a neutral day, one that isn't a bad day.

And so on to 2018...and a year of joy, angst (hello! politics!), sorrow, and happiness...and many wonderful books and writing opportunities.