A new year brings renewed goals

I’m ushering in 2022 by doing something that I don’t normally do: taking a step back.

Reading and writing has become about the ‘newest’ for me over the last few years. What’s just come out, or what have I just heard about from a mutual who shares similar tastes to me. Writing the latest idea I’ve had, with the most demanding characters who need me to write them just this minute or they’ll absolutely drive me batty.

I start the new year by setting a writing goal that usually includes drafting one new manuscript, and a reading goal that’s somewhere between 50 and 100 books. I often feel the need to push myself harder than the year before. Do more. Time is limited; life is short. Live to the fullest.

My personal goals this year are to be bolder, braver, stronger, and unapologetic. I want to challenge myself to be my most vibrant and true self. Fully. Loudly. Unashamed.

That’s going to take a lot of work. And with that very real and hard work, I want to take a breath. I want to slow down this rushed race to the end that I’ve designed for myself. I’ve been trying to cram it all in, scared of that inevitable and yet unknown deadline that waits for us all.

That’s exhausting.

So for 2022, I’ve given myself the following writing goals: a nearly full re-write of a speculative romance manuscript (again); a re-read, re-outlining, and potential revision of a speculative mystery manuscript; write 2 new short stories (submit at least 1); and decide on a game-plan for my speculative novella (expand into a full-length novel, or find a home for it as is).

My reading goal is 30 books. More importantly, my reading goal is to take my time with each book I read, and start with the big ones. I have many books on my TBR that are over 500 pages, and I’m never going to get to them by trying to read as many books as possible each year. Which is a shame. They’re supposed to be fantastic books. So here I am, January 1st, saying that they come first this year.

I absolutely adore novellas now, thanks in large part to tordotcom publishing a ton of fantastic titles in the last few years. But I also love large stories. The ones that are drenched with details. The ones that leave me blinking over and over when I’ve finished them because I don’t remember the real world anymore, I only know the one on the page. (This is not to say that this feeling can’t be achieved in shorter works. It can be.)

Here’s to a year of self-love. A year of pruning back what doesn’t serve us anymore and giving ourselves a chance to grow stronger.

Here’s to a year of play. A year of wandering. A year of forgetting the ticking clock and ever-advancing days. A year of embracing this weird deconstructed illogical time-slip so many of us have been experiencing for the last two years, rather than trying to strong-arm it into what we think it should be.

Happy New Year, my friends.

Be kind. Be gentle. And, if you can manage it, be your bold awesome self.

If you’re looking for book recommendations, I’ll be posting in the coming week or so. Seriously. I know I’ve been delinquent.

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