New Year, New Goals, New Books

I love the quote in this feature image and have to give props to my sister for her awesome artsy and gift-giving skills. *note: I know there's a spelling mistake in this, I just haven't had the heart to tell her yet* This is my quote to live by for 2016. Last year, I made some new year's resolutions. This is not common practice for me because I generally am a self-motivated person and don't necessarily need a written goal in order to accomplish things. Still, I like the idea of starting out fresh at the beginning of a year, and of setting some targets to hopefully hit.

I made three resolutions for 2015:

  1. Tick every box of Pop Sugar's 2015 Reading Challenge and blog about each book I read. This went really well, and I actually ticked almost all the boxes. At first, I was going to keep going into the new year and finish ticking them all off, but then Pop Sugar decided to release a 2016 Reading Challenge, and, well, I want to do that. I won't blog a review of every book this year, but I promise to continue with book reviewing as much as possible. If you're curious what I read to fulfil any particular category and don't feel like combing through all my reviews from 2015, feel free to ask in the comments! The final image with my check marks is at the bottom of this blog.

  2. Get a literary agent. This -- wonderfully, sensationally, excitingly -- happened in October of this year. You can read the full story of how here. After a few weeks of working on the manuscript together and going back and forth with edits, Sharon started sending it out to editors. That leads me into my final resolution for the year:

  3. Get a book deal. This didn't happen in 2015 for a lot of reasons, not the least of which novel wasn't even out on submission until November. This whole process of submitting and waiting seems to be just part of the writer's life (#writerslife #coffee #rejectionmakesyoustronger) and every day of it is a growing and learning experience. All of that being said, this resolution has been transferred gracefully into 2016 and I'm hopeful it might even happen early in the year! I'll keep you posted.

I took this picture today because it just about perfectly describes how I feel about 2016 and what my goals are for this year. A lot to accomplish in one picture, I know, but I think it sums up well. Allow me to explain. I know you're just dying for it.

Most people who know me or follow me on social media know that I've been doing Shaun T's Focus T25 workouts for a while now. I brought the DVDs to the US for my Christmas vacation, and then I got some sort of virus from hades on Day #4 that stayed with me for the entire holiday. Bummer. So I'm basically starting from scratch and just did the first day of the included calendar, along with a lunch recipe from his nutrition manual. Go me.

The essential oils and glass of water (with essential oil in it) join the T25 calendar to represent my goal of getting healthy and fit this year. Ever since I moved away from England, my fitness has gone down (something about getting married, having five different jobs in a year and a half, moving internationally, the crazy money one spends on groceries in Melbourne, excuse, excuse, excuse). Anyway. It's time for a change, and I'm going for it. Writers might sit on their asses for most of the day, but that doesn't mean I can't be healthy too.

Speaking of writing, I got Pilot's diary for writers, which is full of inspiring advice from editors and agents, great contacts, a daily planner, writing prompts, and a whole lot more. I'm hoping to use this to have my best writing year ever.

Finally, the coffee mug. Not only is it pretty and funny (my favorite combo), custom-made by my friend Micah based on one of his most popular blog posts, it is my daily reminder that I really don't have my shit together. And that's okay. A lot of people ask me how I get everything done that I do, and I really don't know. I take it as a compliment, but sometimes it also puts a lot of pressure on me to do more and then I feel bad for relaxing. But every once in a while, I'm going to have a cup of coffee in this mug and remember: I don't have it all together. No one does. No one is supposed to.

Chill, bro.

So that's what I'm going to do this year. My four new goals are:

  1. Get that book deal. #fistpump

  2. Feel better about my fitness at the end of 2016 than I do at the beginning.

  3. Have my best writing year ever.

  4. Give myself a break.

Some people might think that last one is a throwaway, but I promise you, I need it. I need to stop and breathe, practice mindfulness, write in a journal, color in an adult coloring book, take walks without my phone or headphones, and just enjoy stuff more. I think it will make me a better writer, and I know it'll make me a more fun person to be around, so why not?

Along with my new goals, I will be revising my newsletter. Instead of sending a new email with the full blog post every time I write one, I am going to send a fortnightly newsletter on Saturday mornings (Australian time) that wraps up and links to all my most recent posts, and gives my awesome email subscribers some insider information about my writing and publishing progress. Interested? Sign up here.

If you're interested, here's the final picture of my 2015 Reading Challenge checklist. Thanks again for all your support and for reading my blogs this year. Let's make 2016 a good one, yes?