I’m a big goal-setter. Every year, around late December I start thinking about the things I want to accomplish in the coming year. And last year, I only had two real “goals.” I wanted to read more, and I wanted to write more.
I was early in the writing of Book Two, and set myself a goal of finishing it in 2016 (check! It’s in the editing phase right now, with a planned release for Fall 2016). I knew I wasn’t going to be able to write every day, and I also knew that my best writing happens in the morning hours. Once I hit the afternoon, I become pretty useless when it comes to creativity. I had three days a week where I was going to be kid-free and able to write without interruption, so I put the hours in my calendar and did my best to stick to them every week. I also made a goal in Scrivener for how many words I wanted to write each day, and I borrowed an idea from my friend Elora Ramirez and tracked my word count on a whiteboard in my main hallway. Being able to write another 5k on my board kept me motivated and accountable. I didn’t finish the book as quickly as I wanted, but I did finish it, and that’s all that matters!
Reading. I love books, and I’ve never really needed much outside motivation for that, but I’ve been really trying to push myself lately to read more books. I started out strong, but then I hit the same reading slump that’s plagued me the last couple years. I know there are a few reasons for this—I get frozen by decision paralysis, so I’ll finish a great book and not have something else lined up, and then I can’t decide what to read next. So I read nothing, and it kind of snowballs. And then I find myself sucked into my smartphone. Also, I was editing a couple manuscripts and I find when I’m in the swing of writing, I don’t read as much (everyone’s different, that just seems to be my process).
So. I’ve decided that I am not going to let the last few months kill my year, which has been my pattern in the last couple years (I have a serious “all or nothing” problem). It’s time for some mid-year resolutions, and mine revolves pretty exclusively around increasing my reading. The kids and I are heading to the library tonight to grab some books, and I’m turning off Netflix and putting my phone down for some reading. I’ve got plans for some series that are new to me, so at least if they’re good, I’ll always have something new to pick up.
I’m doing some pretty detailed tracking of my reading this year and really enjoying it; I love seeing what I’ve read. I haven’t been keeping track of what I’ve started and abandoned, though, and I think I’ll do a better job of that this time.
Do you have any summer reading goals? Read anything fantastic lately? What are your tricks for reading more?