Being a reader and a writer is hard work sometimes. I often wish that my next book was already written and I could just read it, but tragically, procrastination does not result in finished work. How many of you have struggled with wanting to read your story more than wanting to write it?
As a writer, it’s important to set goals for yourself. These goals don’t have to be crazy, and in fact I’ve found that if I make goals too lofty, I get discouraged and it has the opposite effect.
I have tried the usual ones: this number of words or that number of pages. For some of you, that may be helpful, but personally I have to approach it differently. Having anxiety makes goals scary rather than aspirational, and I end up blocked.
This year, I am planning to attend the Ohioana Book Festival again with Erin, and my writer goal is to enjoy it and not go again next year… as a visitor. I have two novels that are written. I’ve been sitting on them, why? Because I’m scared of rejection? Because I will never feel like they’re “good enough”? Because I’m torn between the fear that they’ll die in obscurity if I self-publish them on Amazon and the fear of navigating the world of publishing? Because I know that in the next push of editing, I will have to lose little bits of dialogue and scenes that I love?
Yes, of course, to all. But I am a big believer in the death of the author, and so my goal this year is to let myself go and follow the advice of Faulkner. “In writing, you must kill all of your darlings.” Other people are going to find meanings in your work that you may never have intended. Maybe someday someone will sit and try to decide what you meant by making a pair of curtains blue. Maybe they will come up with an answer you did not mean, and that is okay. Once your work is out there, it is open for interpretation. That’s terrifying, but it’s the way it should be.
I showed you all my TBR for the year, but I would like to make an addition: by the end of this year, I want to read a finished copy of my second novel.
What are your reading goals for the year? Those of you who are also writers, what are your writing goals? They may be scary, but I believe in you!
From my bookshelf to yours,