January 12: Resolutions/Hopes for 2021 (bookish or not!)
I decided to keep this mostly bookish (or at least related to books/writing/blogging), but not be totally rigid about it. So if something non-bookish strikes me as appropriate, I’ll include it.
1. Finish writing and publish Frost. I’m about 3 drafts into it. It’s been through several beta reads and one edit so far, so I’m getting there. I’d wanted it done by now, but 2020 came with some delays and distractions, so I didn’t make as much progress as I would have liked. I hope to finish it this year, but I’m trying to be understanding of the fact that unanticipated things sometimes get in the way of writing projects.
2. Read some of the books on my 2020 TBR that I didn’t get to yet.
3. Read more nonfiction. Fiction will always be my first love, but I’m trying to expand my interests, open my mind and learn new things. I’m also becoming more interested in creative nonfiction like memoirs, essays, etc. A few on my TBR
- Modern Love Revised and Updated: True Stories of Love, Loss and Redemption by Daniel Jones, Andrew Rannells et al- This is a collection of memorable essays from the New York Times “Modern Love” Column. I love the column (it’s been made into an Amazon prime anthology series that I haven’t seen yet but plan to!) which is essays where various people share true love stories: happy, sad, humorous, poignant, etc.
- Take Courage: Anne Bronte and the Art of Life by Samantha Ellis– I was a big fan of Ellis’ first book, How to Be A Heroine, and I’m looking forward to her follow up which sounds like a combination between a traditional biography of the “overlooked” Bronte sister, and a more personal memoir of the author’s relationship with Anne Bronte’s work.
- The Secret Sisterhood: The Literary Friendships of Jane Austen, Charlotte Bronte, George Eliot and Virginia Woolf by Emily Midorikawa and Emma Claire Sweeney- Male literary friendships are well documented, but this book looks are the way that female writers influenced one another in both life and work. It draws on personal letter and diaries.
- Rereadings: Seventeen Writers Revisit Books They Love by Anne Fadiman et al– I’m a big fan of Anne Fadiman, who edited this, and I love the idea. I’m curious about how and why these writers decided what to reread. I’m totally conflicted about rereadings: there’s a lot I want to reread, because I suspect I’ll read it differently now. But I also don’t want to ruin any memories of books that might not live up to them. Plus can I justify rereading when there are so many books out there I haven’t read? I have no answers to these questions, but I’m curious how these writers answer them. Plus, I always love a good book about books!
- Art of Neil Gaiman: The Story of A Writer With Handwritten Notes, Drawings, Manuscripts and Personal Photographs by Hayley Campbell– I’m a fan of Neil Gaiman as a writer and an artist and this looks like a comprehensive account of his life and work, which his spanned a number of art forms and literary genres.
- Hat Box: The Collected Lyrics of Stephen Sondheim: A Box Set by Stephen Sondheim– My love of musical theatre is well documented, and Stephen Sondheim is one of the most acclaimed, brilliant, and innovative voices that the art form has produced. He is both a composer and a lyricist and in this collection he goes through his work, annotating it with anecdotes, observations and advice.
4. Write more original blog posts. I wrote about this a little bit earlier. I love lists, and tags, and readalongs, but I do want to use my original voice more often. I want this blog to be a sort of combination of original posts/musings on life and literature, a way to share my writing, and a way to get to know other readers and writers.
5. Read more poetry. I think reading poetry makes me a better writer. I’ve never been someone who dives into volumes of poetry for hours. It’s not something I write naturally, but I appreciate the way it helps me see language a bit differently. I want to get to know contemporary poets better. Some favorites are Richard Siken, Jeannine Hall Gailey, the recently departed Mary Oliver, and Ada Limon.
6. Make more of an effort to write and publish short fiction. I think most of my literary efforts are spent on novels and nonfiction. I feel like that’s where I get the most feedback. But I also think that short fiction is worth the effort, even if I don’t get the most feedback from it.
7. Remember that reading goals, bookish resolutions, etc are are for fun. If I don’t hit a target or follow through on a goal, it’s not a failure, because it’s not something that matters. It’s something that’s supposed to be fun, pure and simple.
8. Be willing to DNF books. I have a lot of trouble with this. I feel like there’s a virtue in “sticking with something” even when I’m not enjoying it. Of course I know on a rational level that that’s not the case, but it’s hard to remember and believe. I sometimes act as if there’s some sort of prize to be won for sticking through something I’m not enjoying. I won’t say that there’s nothing to be gained by pushing through initial difficulty at times. I think that’s why I have so much trouble with this. There is something to by said for making an effort! But how much of an effort is necessary?
What are your bookish and non-bookish goals for 2021?