Little Willow (slayground) wrote,
Little Willow

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Booking Your New Year's Resolutions

I wrote this piece in December 2007. It was published in the January 2008 issue of The Edge of the Forest, a children's literature monthly. Thanks to everyone who responded!

I often include imminent tasks on my to-do lists so I can check off items right away. It makes me happy. As soon as I send this article off to fabulous editor Kelly, I'll be able to scratch one more thing off of the list that's sitting beside my mousepad. Woo hoo!

Though I frequently make to-do lists, I rarely make New Year's Resolutions. Why? Because I don't see the first day in January as being the first day of MY new year - that's my birthday. What can I say? I'm literal and technical.

I do remember having to write down a New Year's Resolution in second grade. I considered my options, then wrote, "Read The Phantom Tollbooth every single day." I didn't read it every single day that year, but I have easily read that book a gazillion times.

Now, just because I prefer to make my new resolutions on my birthday rather than on January 1st doesn't mean I'm not curious as to the plans of others. (I'm curious about everything.) I asked my blog readers if they had any New Year's Resolutions related to books, and here's what they pledged.

Liz, librarian and blogger at A Chair, A Fireplace and a Tea Cozy and Pop Goes the Library, has split her resolutions into three groups: book resolutions, writing resolutions, and blogging resolutions. She plans to enjoy the reading she'll be doing for the Printz committee and sneak in a few non-YA titles now and then. She will explore more avenues for getting published and keep blogging because it's fun.

Anne of Book Buds thinks she could make more resolutions than she'd be able to keep, but there's at least one that she's already working on: "I plan to hire a part-time babysitter to free up some time for reading and creative writing. I do plenty of reviewing and editing, but my creative side is banging on the walls hoping to escape and run amok for awhile, and I'm inclined to let it -- if I can find someone to watch the kids while I scribble."

Sarah Darer Littman, author of Confessions of a Closet Catholic, wants to finish her work-in-progress novel for kids and write another book for young adults. She hopes to work on a super-secret non-kid project that is, at the time of this writing, out on proposal. She'll also be blogging away as her "liberal activist evil twin" saramerica throughout the election year.

Take the Reins, the first book in the tween series Canterwood Crest by Jessica Burkhart, will be available in 2009. While preparing herself for that release, the author is also hard at work on a young adult novel. She wants to write at least 3 middle grade books in the next year. "[I'm] trying to keep myself busy while I wait for 2009," she says with a smile.

Becky of Becky's Book Reviews pledges to become more organized this year. "Those that know me may find that laughable," she adds. She plans on cataloging review copies as she receives them and making sure she has the proper contact information for the authors and publishers.

Becky will be hosting two bookish events at her blog: the Jane Austen Mini-Challenge (read two Jane Austen novels and/or watch the Masterpiece Theatre movies) and the Inklings Mini-Challenge (read four books total by J.R.R. Tolkien and/or C.S. Lewis).

Colleen will keep Chasing Ray and reviewing books, though she wants to make even more of an effort than she does already to find titles that are "under-reviewed." In 2008, she'll hold various book-and-blog projects such as those she did in 2007 - the Summer Blog Blast Tour, the Winter Blog Blast Tour, Recommendations Under the Radar - and reach out further to libraries and bookstores that would be interested in said events.

"I'm hoping to become more directly involved in an effort to get books into the hands of children that can not afford them and thus encourage a lifetime of reading and writing. I don't have the time to organize a nonprofit on my own - but honestly I don't think I need to. I just need to find one that fits best with what I hope to accomplish."

She'll be reading and writing plenty, that's for sure. She has submitted an incomplete draft of her Alaska flying memoir to her agent which she will finish in 2008. She'll also finish her young adult urban fantasy, write at least one complete essay, and draft out a future essay collection "on flying and myths and Alaska and history and that kind of stuff." She plans to read some more books by Lesley Blanch, "a great historian who passed away at the age of 103 in 2007."

Heidi R. Kling has a very important delivery coming in May: her second child! She would also like to finish her second novel, Headgear Girl, in 2008.

Jeannine Garsee, author of Before, After, and Somebody In Between, is challenging herself to write one novel a year. She hopes to complete her third novel by the end of 2008.

Jen of Jen Robinson's Book Page wants to read 200 books that aren't picture books in 2008. She thinks her goal is "optimistic." She'll continue to read picture books, but she plan to break those out separately.

She also wants to review books closer to completion: "I find that I do a better job with the reviews when the book is fresh in my mind. Also, sometimes when I leave a book to review later, even one that I really like, I simply never get back to it.

"I have no particular goals as far as which books I'm going to read, except that I would like to make a dent in my stacks of unread books."

Interactive Reader Jac is finally going to count the number of books she reads in a year. She's never done it, and can't estimate how many books she usually gets through. "I think it will actually be far less than people guess - at least compared to the readers here in the Kidlitosphere."

She plans to add more fantasy and science fiction to her reading list, and she hopes to blog more often.

"We'll see," she amends quickly, "I'm cautiously optimistic."

Elfstar plans on tackling Don Quixote again. "This year got kind of hairy, and I wound up abandoning the novel in favor of lighter and easier fare," she admits. "I really do want to read it though."

She also plans on reading more plays and auditioning more frequently. She auditioned for a theater production a few days after we spoke, and I wished her a broken leg.

Em's Bookshelf is overflowing with books that she has yet to read, yet she always seems to reach for a book she just bought instead of one that's been sitting on her shelf for years. Thus, she plans to read more of the books that she already owns.

Brooke, who recently passed the Bar exam, will be reading classics when she's not reading affidavits. "I've gotten an early start by starting on H.G. Wells' sci-fi books, and I have Oliver Twist and Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde waiting on the nightstand."

Miss Erin would like to read at least two books a month from the shelf of books she got in 2007. "I want to read some of the books fervently recommended to me by friends and family, including Manalive by G. K. Chesterton, Northlander by Meg Burden, New Moon by Stephenie Meyer, A Northern Light by Jennifer Donnelly, Great Expectations by Charles Dickens and The Illustrated Man by Ray Bradbury. I hope to read a few more C. S. Lewis books as well as reread Prince Caspian before the movie's release."

Kimberly's main reading goal for 2008 is to read 100 books. "In years past I've always broken 100, but this year, for some reason, I'll just barely hit 75. I was a little crushed when I realized [this]." How will she achieve this goal? "Less television, more books!"

She's also going to try harder to read adult fiction. "Just because I happen to be a YA librarian doesn't mean I am confined to the Teen Room! Step out of there, Kimberly!"

What bookish resolutions will I make?

In 2005, I started keeping track of the number of books I read. I read over 400 books that year - and the next year - and the next. I didn't set a certain number-of-books goal for myself any of those years, and I won't in 2008. It's simply in my nature to read quickly, and I tend to read a book a day. I plan on keeping that up.

I'm often so busy reading other people's stories that I neglect my own. I need to write down and type up more of my stories, scripts, and plays. The majority of my stories are in my head, which is all well and good for the imagination, but I can't expect editors, theatre owners, and other such lofty folk to take me seriously if I don't have hard copies to show them. I want to be taken seriously and I want to be proud of my accomplishments. I probably won't tell myself to write a certain number of words or pages a day or a month, but I will make an honest effort to write and type more often.

What bookish resolutions will you make?

Do you plan on reading X number of books in 2008? Set a realistic goal, perhaps by month rather than by year, and start reading. Read those books you have been meaning to read for years. Re-read old favorites. Branch out and read new genres and authors.

Are you finally going to write that book? You should! Sit down, write it out, type it up, then sell that manuscript! (The exclamation points are overused here, I realize, but that's for emphasis and encouragement for all of you and for myself.)

Do you dream of become a children's book editor? Have you always wanted to work in a library or in a bookstore? Find out how you can pursue that career, then actually pursue it. Get your feet wet by looking into internships and volunteer programs.

If you are looking for online resolution projects or need additional prompts and ideas, check out 101 Things to Do in 1001 Days, which I discovered via Felicia Day's blog.

My friend Kiba recently opened a fortune cookie and discovered these words of wisdom:

Some people never have anything except ideas. Go do it.

To that, I say, "WOO HOO!" and "YES!" and "I CERTAINLY WILL!" Join me, will you? I promise that "WOO HOO!" is mighty fun to say.

Promises, promises. Resolutions are great, but accomplishments are even better. Stop saying, "Maybe I will..." or "Someday I might..." and start saying, "I am!" and "I did!"

I hereby resolve to write down and type up more of my stories, scripts, and plays. I'll probably start by writing down and cataloging my story ideas, and make those to-dos and to-writes into have-dones and have-writtens.

Then, hopefully, it will be my books on someone else's to-read list, and my movies, plays, and TV shows on their radar.
Tags: articles, books
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