Over and over we are told to write down our goals. Make them specific. Make them actionable. Make them accountable. Usually, I’m tempted to go overboard and decide to overhaul everything in my life from diet to exercise to a promise to write every day. I also throw in things like being more patient, showing more compassion to others and being more organized. While these are all good intentions, I think this year I need to be a little more realistic. While I do want to cut out sugar, I know it’s going to be baby steps. While I want to get to the gym more, I’m not going to make a rigid commitment to go every day. Same with writing.
One thing I’m going to commit to is to give other people positive feedback as much as possible. I follow a lot of authors on Twitter and have come to realize that they like to hear when you enjoy their work (makes sense!). I am an avid user of Goodreads to track my reading but have done very little by way of reviewing the books as I read them. I vow to change that this year and already have a couple of reviews under my belt. I realize this is only January 3rd so I’m going to ask a question that has always rattled around in my reading brain – do audiobooks count toward your total book count for the year?
Typically I’ve included them but it feels a bit like cheating if you know what I mean. I do find them a bit challenging because it takes all of your focus and honestly sometimes my mind will wander. This is why I try to keep my audiobook choices to non-fiction – I feel if I miss something here or there in a memoir or self-help book, I can still get the gist of what the author is trying to convey. This is not always true with fiction.
Speaking of memoirs and audiobooks, I find that I’m heavily into them at the beginning of the year, looking for inspiration to get the year started right. Whether it be an Ann Lamott book or a memoir/writing book like Stephen King’s On Writing which I recently listened to but was unable to finish because I didn’t complete it in the deadline the library sets for audiobooks. I don’t typically count books that I don’t finish so I’m unsure of what to do with those either. I recently completed about half of Rena Olsen’s The Girl Before but I just couldn’t make it to the finish line. Maybe I wasn’t in the mood for the book at this time in my reading life.
So my trail of half-read books for last year includes Ruth Ware’s The Lying Game (I put my priority on library books than books I own for some reason!), God Is Always Hiring by Regina Brett, Less by Andrew Sean Greer and Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. All are really good books but I never got around to finishing them. I also have a few books my husband Jim gifted me last year – The People We Hate At The Wedding (Grant Grinder), The Ninth Hour (Alice McDermott) and Saints for All Occasions (J. Courtney Sullivan) that have been sitting in my TBR pile for months. After winning the Nobel prize for literature, Jim also ordered me a copy of Kazuo Ishiguro’s Never Let Me Go.
So by the side of my bed sits a pile of guilt. From time to time he’ll pick one up and ask me how it is and I’ll tell him I’m just about to get to it (little lie). Honestly, the books that come into my life are a fluid and changing thing and I tend to get into a particular genre where I read nothing but say, psychological thrillers for weeks on end (a dominant theme of 2017). While reading is a goal because I enjoy it so much, I need to spend more time writing myself this year. I have to seriously think about what is achievable and then write it down, make it actionable and accountable. I hope to do this on Friday, my first “day off” that can be devoted to the reason I took Friday’s off in the first place – to write more. This is the treat I’ve been holding out for these last few weeks!
What are your hopes and goals for 2018?