Friday, January 6, 2023

2023 Reading and Writing Plans

Writer First, Reader Second 

I've been easing into this new year and getting a sense of what I really want to focus on before making too many plans. After several days of thinking it over, I've finally decided that what I really want to do this year is to think of myself as a writer first, and a reader second. This is a big shift toward a mentality I haven't had in 20 years, but I think it's necessary if I want to carve out time for writing projects and not feel guilty about it. 

There is no chance that I will not be reading this year. Given that I read 325 books last year in the midst of writing and submitting multiple pieces of fiction, I think it's safe to bet I will read at least 100 books in 2023 (which is my Goodreads goal) and that there will be weeks where I still read more than I write. But if there is a choice about where to put limited free time and energy? This year, writing will take the priority. 

Analog Tracking 

In the interest of freeing up time to write, one thing I'm doing differently this year is tracking all my reading and writing in my Bookworm Life planner that my sister gave me for my birthday. Instead of keeping graphic trackers on Instagram and text-based trackers on my blog, and also trying to keep up with both Goodreads and Storygraph, I'm going to focus on just the planner and Goodreads. I also want to start posting a weekly reading and writing update to Instagram. I follow a couple people who do that, and I really enjoy seeing what they share each week. I will keep monthly statistics for myself, and I will still wrap up each month here on the blog for An Open Book, though perhaps the posts will feature fewer books. 

Reading Goals

In terms of reading goals, I'm trying to keep things simple and open-ended. I'm going back to the Unread Shelf Project this year, along with the Buzzword Reading Challenge and the Read Your Bookshelves Challenge. I'll also be reading along with Close Reads and the #WorldFullofBooks group on Instagram. All the prompts for these are on my challenges page for this year. I expect books for these challenges to comprise the bulk of my reading. 

I also want to be more intentional about reading with my eyes and not just always defaulting to audiobooks, and I'm planning to read more short stories as research for writing as well as for my own enjoyment. I'm also bringing TBRs back into my reading life in 2023, but instead of a monthly stack, I'm planning to pull out ten books per season and make a goal of reading those ten within a three-month span. 

Finally, along with Father Mike's wonderful podcast, I'll be reading The Catechism of the Catholic Church.

Writing Goals 

I think I'm starting a novel this year. 

I've been dragging my feet, trying to decide what I want to work on, and then I started the year by writing 800 words about two of my favorite characters that I've created and I realized that if I'm ever going to write a novel, this is the one I will write. I don't plan to start immediately, and I don't have any expectation that I will finish it this year, but it's probably going to happen. 

On top of that, I have a couple of other loose goals I want to work toward. I'd like to write one short story of a more substantial length during each quarter of the year, and I would like at least one of those to be a mystery. And I want to try to participate in Flash Fiction Magic every week, or at least enough weeks that I don't fall out of the habit.  Ideally, I will also submit to Spark and Havok again, and maybe to an anthology or two, but that will depend on the themes and the ideas that come to me. 

I am going to track my daily word count in my planner, but I don't have a target word count goal in mind. 

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