Friday, December 28, 2018

New Years Goals - Reading

Several years ago I was scrolling through Facebook on a break at work. It was during the long week stretching between Christmas and New Years Eve. I came across a picture showing a list of categories  for a reading challenge. There were book categories like A Classic Romance, A Book Your Mother Loves, A Books With A One Word Title. Altogether there are fifty three books once you go through the entire list. I had been looking for a way to expand my reading horizons and thought this challenge would be a great way to branch out.

As an author I understand the importance of reading. Not only do I love to read in multiple genres, and have discovered authors through this challenge I had never considered before, but I also write in a number of genres which means I need to keep reaching out from both a reader and writer perspective. There have been a number of books I questioned choosing as I made my way through them. Judge me if you want but it turns out I am not a fan of the classics. Pride & Prejudice as well as The Count Of Monte Cristo both took forever for me to complete. I never was able to get into the story.

I never believed reading those books were a completely bad idea though. There were things I was able to learn from those stories including story flow and pacing that I can incorporate into my own writing. I keep trying to find new books and authors I can learn from and so every year I attempt the challenge again. I have yet to complete it. Last year I even added a number of writing craft related books on top of the fifty three books of the main challenge. I read fast enough to get through the entire list and still pick up a few books from authors I have enjoyed but there are some categories I struggle to get through as well as dealing with life getting in the way can make completion beyond my grasp.

I have already gone through the categories and cleared the books I was able to get through while adding in the new titles I intend to read in 2019. I am excited about the things I will learn this year and looking forward to sharing the books as I read them throughout the year.

Monday, December 24, 2018

New Years Goals - Fitness

I mentioned in the last post I was focusing on a number of different goals including reading, writing, fitness, and professional. I know it seems like some of these are less than author-like, but I think a big part of keeping my focus is staying well rounded. Today I have been going through the ultimate goals I have for fitness.

Originally I was planning to attempt my first Spartan Race obstacle course but all of the ones located in my part of the country happens to coincide with book signings I have already agreed to do. I am still looking forward to taking part in one in 2020 but I will be signing up for that before I set my signing schedule. I will be using the second half of this year to work on getting myself in shape to handle the obstacles as well.

Last year I ran in my first 10K and while I can honestly say I hate running as an activity, that particular race was one of the most fun events I have ever done. I also love the distance cycling events I have done in the past. I will be continuing to train for the 10K again as well as a few 5K events along with 4-5 cycling events and possibly a trail run during the course of 2019. These activities take time away from my writing and publishing but they allow me to keep my health the best it can be. It also gives me something I need for writing as well, time to let my mind drift and develop storylines organically.

When I run, and when I take out my bike, I always listen to music. I have a playlist I use when I am training because the songs are motivating and can keep pushing me when I am too tired to do one more lap at the track. When I am just exercising to get in shape and not training for anything in particular I listen to playlists specific to the book I am working on. That allows me to get lost in the feel of the book. I have also been known to let my kind wander while I swim at the gym. No matter what type of exercise I'm doing, it's nice to let my mind go and the story takes over.

I have learned I can't run or bike without music. My mind will not venture off to writing because I will only focus on my breathing, or lack thereof. My running friends have told me to just run without music and eventually I will be able to let my mind go but I think using the book playlists is the right way for me. As I make my checklist for the upcoming year I have included a weight loss goal, things like classes to try and flexibility / strength levels to achieve but most of all I am looking forward to seeing how the improvement in my physical abilities translates into improvements in my writing life.

Friday, December 21, 2018

New Years Goals

Yep. It's that time of year again. New Year's resolutions are upon us once more and as usual I am being less than traditional. I gave up on the resolution thing years ago. Instead I adopted the idea of making goals to work toward and accomplish throughout the year. I always have writing goals on my list and a reading challenge to attempt. There is usually a fitness goal or two and something to do with my professional life whether that be writing related as well or connected to the day job.

This year I will be attempting the trifecta once again as I tackle an aggressive publishing goal, work hard to achieve my fitness and competitive goals and look into making an addition to my working life as I return to my love of performing.

Writing this year, with any luck and determination, will see leaps and bounds as I move forward. My writing goals include drafting the 3rd and 4th books in my Voices series, drafting / editing / publishing the rest of my Sharing Strength series, revising my stand-alone novel Breathe, and outlining Sabrina which is the prequel to Never Give Up. On top of writing goals I will also be attending far more signings in the upcoming year so I need to make sure I am keeping up on my inventory levels as well as consistently releasing new books and staying on top of my packed schedule.

Fitness related goals this year involve making a dedicated effort in the gym so I can stay healthy as well as get in shape and stay in shape so I can enjoy the performing in my part time job (I love the theater), and being able to participate in more 5Ks, the 10K at the end of the year, and more biking events that I always enjoy. I had planned to try and compete in my first Spartan Race this coming year but all of the ones near me are during time I am already scheduled to do book signings so I will be focusing on my running and biking for now and start the obstacle training toward the end of the year.

I have made my reading challenge list for this year and I have to admit many of the books from this past year are still on there because I lost track of my reading in 2018. I am looking forward to the fresh start now and have already accumulated several of the books so I can get started on my reading and have reserved a number of others from the local library. As long as I can keep from losing my motivation I think 2019 will be a very productive year.