This week on the blog:
- I started the process of integrating book information from old reviews into the Ultimate Book Blogger plugin, so that I can start using its awesome automated review index feature.
- Review: Immortal by Gillian Shields – A gothic YA from 2009 – 3 stars
- Top Ten Tuesday – Top Ten Goals/Resolutions for 2014
- Writing Wednesday – Biweekly goal check-in
- Chocolate Chip Cookie Murder (Hannah Fluke #1) by Joanne Fluke
- This series includes cookie recipes between chapters. Of course I have to try them this weekend!
- Immortal (Immortal #1) by Gillian Shields
- My full review was posted on Monday.
- Magic Slays (Kate Daniels #5) by Ilona Andrews
- Paris by Edward Rutherford
- This was a beast I picked up from the library. I don’t know if I’ll have time to finish it, but I figure I’ll give it a try.
- I have signed up for some challenges in my various groups on Goodreads. Here are the ones new for 2014:
- Decades Challenge – Read 14 books published in 2014, 13 books from 2013, etc.
- Serial Reader Challenge – Read 29 books from 16 different series from various categories.
- Yahtzee Challenge – Play a monthly round of Yahtzee, reading books to fit your dice rolls.
- Listopia Challenge – Read from select Listopia lists on Goodreads.
- Dusty Bookshelf Challenge – Post older books you want to read from your TBR and someone picks two for you to try to read each month
- Finish What You Started Challenge – Post series you need to catch up on and someone picks a series from which you try to read two books each month
- LOST: Longest On Shelf To-be-read Challenge – Read the 10 oldest books on your to-read shelf.
- Moving Mountains Challenge – Read pre-selected books from your to-read shelf to whittle it down.
- Like a Good Neighbor, Goodreads Is There Challenge – Read 25 books from categories that use Goodreads features.
- Literary Exploration Challenge – Read 36 different genres.
- Goodreads Reading Challenge – Read 100 books.
- Cougar Town
- One of my favorite comedies returned for a new season on Tuesday. Let’s pound some grape!
- I started a new swim class this week. The Park District was offering weekly technique classes and I couldn’t resist the cheap price for a chance to brush up on my swim stroke and maybe learn some new drills.
What have you been up to this week?
Welcome back to Writing Wednesday! Today I’m following up on an old post about motivation.
In the post, I reviewed the book Around the Writer’s Block: Using Brain Science to Fight Writer’s Resistance, by Roseanne Bane. It describes three habits we should be cultivating each week: Process, Self-Care, and Product Time. It gave a lot of helpful pointers on how to push through self-defeating behaviors and keep writing.
I wish I could say that I have done a better job keeping up with my writing-related habits. Unfortunately, when I lost my blogging mojo, I also lost my mojo for a number of other things, which included writing. I found myself skipping a lot of my turns in my critique group, and not really feeling the motivation to write.
In November, Roseanne Bane actually stopped by my blog and emailed me, offering feedback and support. It was such a thoughtful gesture and demonstrated just how much Roseanne loves to work with writers to help them achieve their goals. It was also a nice nudge to get me going again with goal- and habit-setting.
As I noted in yesterday’s post on my resolutions for 2014, one major commitment I want to honor is finishing my manuscript. I know I can only do that with focus and discipline. So back to regular check-ins!
I don’t want to bore myself (or you) with weekly posts, so I’m going to try the biweekly thing again. Every other Wednesday here on the blog will be Writing Wednesday, focused on goal-setting and checking in on progress. The other Wednesdays will be discussion posts.
Here are my goals for the next two weeks:
- Word searches, journaling, or listening to music
- 10 minutes per day, 5 days per week
- 30 minutes per day, 5 days per week
- Writing or researching
- 15 minutes per day, 5 days per week
- Target tasks
- Belle Epoque research
- Update names
- Get to end of Act I
For any of my fellow writers out there, feel free to join me! Post your own goals below or on your blog, and check back in two weeks. I hope to cultivate this as a place of support and encouragement no matter what kind of writing you’re doing. Good luck!
I love lists, so I’m dipping my toes in the listy fun that is Top Ten Tuesday. This meme is run by The Broke and the Bookish and each week they post a new list for us to complete and share.
Just post your own list, link back to The Broke and the Bookish, and add your link to the linky tool to participate!
Top Ten Goals/Resolutions For 2014:
(Bookish, bloggish, real-lifeish.)
1. Read 100 books.
If I do nothing else this year, I want to keep up my reading habit.
2. Blog regularly.
I’m not going to pressure myself with a set number of posts per week, or even per month. I just want to focus on coming back and getting something up on the blog on a regular basis, no matter the frequency.
3. Read something truly challenging.
I want to tackle something that really pushes me. Something old? Something long? Something epic, or literary, or written in verse? It doesn’t matter what it is, but at least one book I read this year should scare me a little bit.
4. Subscribe to more blogs via email.
Once Google Reader went buh-bye, my blog reading dropped dramatically. Bloglovin’ and Feedly are fine, but I don’t like them as much, which makes it feel like a chore to visit them. I’ve found that the blogs I have subscribed to via email are not overwhelming to my inbox, and it makes it easier to stay current. Plus it’s easy to click the link and comment from my phone. Maybe my inbox will just have to be my new Reader.
5. Develop my writing habit.
My critique group is in a transition phase, but I think we’re all feeling ready to get down to hard work again. This means it’s time for me to quit making excuses and get back to regular writing sessions. Look for Writing Wednesday posts every other week to keep me honest and accountable.
6. Get moving!
Hibernation time is over. I have real, major physical activity commitments this year and it’s time to start working toward those goals. That Half Ironman isn’t going to race itself.
7. Stick to a budget.
I’ve been lucky and lazy enough to get by without thinking much about the money I spend. This year, I want to set some spending limitations and sock away the rest to really pad our savings account. I tend to complain a lot about our small apartment, but if I want to buy a house I have to actually set aside money for that down payment.
8. Finish that draft.
My critique group has been enormously patient with my indecisive approach to plotting out my manuscript. That approach isn’t working, and has led to a draft that goes nowhere fast. This year I want to step it up, make hard choices for my characters, and finish their story.
9. Attend a writing conference and get querying.
Once that manuscript is done, it’ll be time to find an agent. This year is the year I want to start querying. I’ve also resisted writing conferences because they so often seem geared toward writers with completed manuscripts, but if I meet goal #8 then I can achieve goal #9.
10. Do what makes me happy.
I don’t want to fall into the trap of only doing something for the sake of doing it, just to be consistent. If I’m posting 3 times a week, but they are posts no one cares about, what’s the point? If I’m posting once a month, but it’s something fun and entertaining to read, and it makes me happier, then so be it.
“Do what you want, what you want with [your blog].” – Lady GaGa
What are your goals or resolutions for this year?