New Year, New Goals

I always like to start out the new year with a list of goals and a renewed vision. I prefer the term “goal” rather than “resolution,” because to me a resolution sounds like something so permanent and inflexible that if you mess up just once, you’re done. A goal, on the other hand, is something that you are always progressing towards. A backwards step is okay, as long as you take another step forwards again.

One of my goals for this year is to blog more. I’ve been blogging regularly once a week for several years now, but I want to do more. So every Monday, I will be sharing a picture, a quote, or a track of music to help inspire you and get your week off to a positive start. Whether you’re looking for story prompt ideas or just an encouraging word first thing in the morning, check out my blog every Monday for my #MondayMotivation!

On the story writing side of things, I’ve got a plan in place to publish several works this year. I just sent my sci-fi novella off to an editor (my first time hiring a real editor! Whee!) I’ll also be rewriting the historical fiction I drafted last year, and also releasing some short stories. Stay tuned for more info as I progress with these stories!

Last year, I got through less than half of my intended reading list (although I did read a few books that weren’t originally on the list). This year I’m going to be more diligent about reading, because every good writer is first a good reader.

So those are my goals for 2017. What are some of your goals for this year? Write more? Read more? Subscribe to my newsletter? 😉 Please share!

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Year-End Wrap Up

It’s time for the obligatory “looking back at the past year” post. On the writing front, for me it’s been a good year. I launched a newsletter. I published a book. I’ve done more content writing professionally than ever before. I’ve connected with people, both online and in local writing groups, and made some new friends. I may not have hit all my goals that I made at the beginning of the year, but I’m pretty happy with the progress I’ve made.

I hope that all of you, dear readers, have enjoyed reading my blog this past year, and have been inspired or instructed in some small way. My aim as a writer is not merely to have my words read, but to have my words entertain others, inspire others, and make them think. I hope I’ve done that in some way, and I hope to do much more next year.

So with that, here’s a very happy new year wish to all of you! May 2017 be your best year yet! May you read all the best books, write better than ever, create more art than ever, and accomplish all your goals and dreams.

Happy New Year!

Are you an Aspiring Writer?

I hear many people say they are an aspiring writer. I read a lot of blogs – by writers, written for writers – that talk about being an aspiring writer. But I disagree with that term, and here’s why.

To aspire to something is to reach for it, hope for it, dream about achieving it. There’s nothing wrong with aspiring to greater things in life – in fact, everyone should have at least one or two things they aspire to. Otherwise you have no goals and dreams, and frankly, life’s pretty bland if you’re just existing.

So what if you’re wanting to be a writer? Well, let’s break this down. Do you want to be a published writer? Do you want to be a full-time writer (as in you’re published and selling enough to quit your day job)? Do you want to be a successful writer? (This means different things to different people. For some it might mean getting one story published in a magazine, for others it might mean having a book on the NY Times Bestseller list). Continue reading

How to Set Goals for the New Year

Tis the season for new year’s resolutions. We look back on what we’ve accomplished – and didn’t – in the past year, and resolve to do better and do more in the coming year. While this is a good sentiment, there’s a reason that a lot of traditional New Year’s Resolutions wind up being forgotten or discarded before the end of January.

My goal is to party like it's 1916...

My goal is to party like it’s 1916…

I prefer to call my decisions “goals” instead of “resolutions.” The reason is because a goal is something specific. A goal is a desire with a deadline, rather than just a nebulous “Imma do better this year.” So here I’ll give you a few tips about how to set goals that you might actually be able to achieve, instead of just struggling futilely with the “Imma do better” thing. Continue reading

Second Chance Again

Just a short post, as it’s New Year’s Eve.

It’s that time when we reflect on the past year. We celebrate the victories, we mourn the losses, we meditate on the regrets, and we decide to do better next year. That’s the great thing about a new year – it’s a chance to start again, to go for those things that we missed last year. It’s a second chance again.

I didn’t hit the majority of my reading and writing goals for 2014. But that’s okay, because I still accomplished a lot, and I learned even more. I’m excited about taking what I’ve learned this past year – learned from both successes and failures – and applying it to this new year. It’s my second chance again.

Happy new year, everybody!

Reading Goals for 2014

As I mentioned in my New Year’s post, one of my goals/resolutions for 2014 is to read more. I had a very modest reading goal last year, and I didn’t come close to hitting it.

Since leaders are readers and writers are readers, I really can’t call myself a leader (of myself, let alone anyone else) if I don’t read. Nor can I expect my writing craft to improve tremendously if I don’t read other well-written works.

To be fair – lest you think I spent all of 2013 rotting my mind with nothing but trashy TV or lolcat pictures – I have been constantly reading content online. Articles and blog posts about writing, social media, linguistics, daily devotionals, travel – I read more than a few posts every day. But it’s still not the same as reading books.

So here’s a list of some of the books that I intend to read – or re-read – in 2014.

Structuring Your Novel by K.M. Weiland

I’ve followed her writing blog for some time, and found valuable tips to help me improve my storytelling. I’m sure her book will help me even more.

A Wilder Rose by Susan Wittig Albert

Having loved the Little House on the Prairie books, this book about Laura Ingalls Wilder and her daughter Rose looks like a fascinating read.

Imagine Big by Terri Savelle Foy

I read this book last year, and I want to read it again. In fact, this is a book that could – and perhaps should – be read every year. It’s about using the power of imagination to set goals and create the life you want for yourself.

The Slight Edge by Jeff Olson

Another re-read for me, and another “success” book that is really just about living a productive and fulfilled life. Who doesn’t want that?

East by Edith Pattou

I found this book at a used bookstore some time ago, and it’s been sitting unread on my shelf for ages (along with too many other books). Time to get caught up on those.

The Legend of the Ice People – Spellbound by Margit Sandemo

Another on-the-shelf-too-long unread book. A friend sent it to me, so I will be (finally) reading it this year in her honor.

Prince by Bonnie Watson

I read the first book in this trilogy last year, so now I want to read the next one. Hopefully I’ll finish it just in time for her to publish book three.

Bone series by Jeff Smith

I’ve mentioned this series before, so it’s another re-read. It’s been several years since I’ve read all nine graphic novels in order, plus the prequel stories (yes, graphic novels count as reading). This epic saga is a masterful combination of humor, high fantasy, and hand-drawn art.

I intend to read far more than just these few books this year, but I didn’t want to make this blog post any longer. If you want to see how I’m progressing with my reading goals, you can find me on Goodreads.

What are you reading this year?