Happy New Year! 16 Things I Want to Accomplish in 2016

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New Year’s tea with homemade scones and lemon curd. More on these scones later today.

I hope everyone had a wonderful (but maybe not too crazy) night last night. Now that we’ve all rung in the New Year, it’s time for some reflection on last year and the year ahead.

In a way, I’m not sad to see the back of 2015. It’s been an intense and fairly stressful year. But so many wonderful things happened too that it’s all kind of mixed together. Still, I’m grateful for new beginnings, which is why I wanted to take a moment and share some of the things I’m hoping to do in 2016.

I’ve never been good at New Year’s resolutions. That is, I’m good at coming up with them (I usually have 10 in any given year), but the word ‘resolution’ is tricky for me. Like required reading and plans to go running, if it feels obligatory I’m less likely to do it, or do it only grudgingly.

So this year I’m trying something different. I’m making 16 goals, or bucket-list items for 2016. These are things I’m going to work towards, and because they’re goals and not requirements, I think I’ll be more motivated to achieve them. I invite you to make a goal list too (possibly in addition to a resolution?), and then spend the next few weeks coming up with plans to meet your goals.

These don’t really include book-related goals. I’ll be talking about those more next week.

Writing/Blogging Goals:

  • actually post one baking post per week–as I’ve said many, many times, I love doing these posts and I never seem to make enough time to accomplish them. I want to make them more of a priority this year.
  • finish editing my first two books–which is essential if I have any hope of:
  • pursue a literary agent–not in a stalker kind of way, but in a sending out inquiry letters kind of way
  • submit my poems to literary journals–rejection letters, here I come!

Things to Make:

  • alter dresses–I frequently buy thrift store dresses. Most of the time they already fit, but sometimes they need alterations. I want to expand my wardrobe without dipping into my funds too much. I might share some of the more involved projects on here because who doesn’t like sewing tips? or disasters?
  • the digital scrapbook for the trip Paul and I took in 2013–because it’s about time
  • new connections–I want to find a community of readers and writers in my community as well as the one I’ve found online
  • make others a priority–I try and do this already, but it never hurts to remind myself of what’s important.

Things to Do:

  • take more pictures of Paul and I together–we need to have pictures to pull out in the future and we don’t take very many.
  • floss for two whole weeks straight–anyone else really bad with flossing? It takes 14 repetitions to get a new word into your brain, so I figure it’ll take at least 14 days to make flossing a habit.
  • work up to a yoga headstand–because how cool would that be?
  • lose 5-10 pounds for my friend’s wedding in August–I had to have something weight-related on here. I’m an American, and it’s the new year. But I think this is very doable and realistic.

Things to Learn:

  • Something new about another culture–there will always be so much to learn. I always want to be open to new ideas.
  • How to use Illustrator for calligraphy–I like that I haven’t had to go digital yet, but I’ll need to learn soon.
  • Italian–I’ll probably never be fluent, but I’ve always wanted to learn so I might as well start sooner rather than later.
  • How to make strudel–my great-grandmother used to make strudel and I want to learn too. Also, how to make croissants from scratch.

 

But even as I look ahead, there are still 2015 things to accomplish. I made my reading goal, but there are still posts to write, so I’ll be finishing up those in the next few weeks. When those are done, I’ll start posting on 2016’s reads.

As ever, if there are books you want me to cook from for my Baking for Bookworms feature, let me know in the comments. Also in the comments, let me know what your own New Year’s Resolutions or Goals are.

Reading Challenge

“No black woman writer in this culture can write ‘too much’. Indeed, no woman writer can write ‘too much’…No woman has ever written enough” –Bell Hooks

Many people talk about the difference between men and women as writers. Some believe that the difference is apparent and others that it’s negligible. My reading career has been split pretty evenly between male and female writers. Over the past three years, I’ve read 108 books by women and 92 books by men along with several anthologies with authors of both sexes. But as a woman writer, I believe that I should encourage people to read women’s work, and so I’m issuing myself the following challenge for next year.

I will read around 75 books written by women writers only for a year and then I’ll follow that with a year of reading only male authors. There will be no restrictions in genre or time period of authorship (though if I need to read something for book research, I’ll still be reading it, regardless of the gender or sex of the author). I’ll be looking to see if there are any large differences between writers of different genders, or if that’s a myth we’ve accepted for a long time. I’ll be sharing the books I read on the blog by cooking from them, and I’ll share what I’m reading with just a sentence or two about the book (but I’ll also have a link to my reading challenge on Goodreads so you can read my more in depth book reviews).

I hope this encourages you to set your own reading challenge for 2015. It doesn’t have to concern gender. If you’re a British literature fan, try American for a year, or if you only read Americans and UK writers, try reading novels written outside these countries. Read books by authors of different ethnicities or on different subjects or in new genres. You may find out some surprising new things about yourself as a reader and a person by setting a goal outside your comfort zone. Or perhaps your goal will be a simple as setting a number of books to read and holding yourself to it. Share your challenges and your favorite books with me and together we can make 2015 all about reading.

Love any particular women writer? Share your favorite book written by a woman in the comments and I’ll try to include it during the year.