Before I start sharing my goals for 2021, let me briefly talk about 2020: it was a bad year for everyone including myself and I found myself dealing with certain personal things and became somewhat overwhelmed and tried to cope. In any case, I lost interest in writing, blogging, and social media for the most part. Now that it’s 2021, have I regained my interest in them? Who knows. But I  was doing okay before, so I kinda want to (regain interest). To facilitate that, here I am setting goals for 2021…

1. New Year, New Name.

Starting 2021, the name I’ll be using for my writerly self shall be Steph Arven. I’ve decided to separate my writing stuff from my Sathepine pseudonym and channel it all to the Steph Arven persona. In case I haven’t mentioned before, Sathepine is an anagram for Stephanie, which is my real name. I’ve used it for other things, not just writing stuff. As for the Steph Arven name, we know where the “Steph” comes from, but not the Arven. Arven is a combination of my grandfathers’ names (Ar = Arceo, ven = Venancio). I hope to use this name from now on, especially in social media, even if it means I’ll lose all my previous followers now (at least, in Twitter and Instagram). But I’m not counting anyway, so it’s all good.

2. Read and review the top ten books in the 2020 Goodreads Choice Awards for: Fantasy, Science Fiction, Poetry, and Young Adult Fantasy/Sci-Fi. 

Not all these books may be to my taste but the challenge is to read what is popular, what is mainstream, what readers in general enjoyed (or at least got hyped up enough to vote for). Then we’ll see if I enjoyed them just as much. 

For books that are part of a series, I’ll only commit to reading and reviewing the first book of that series, although, of course, it would be great if I manage to read up to that book itself.

3. Read and review at least five indie novels.

I do have plans to self-publish in the future (though I’m not in a hurry as my work is a priority right now), and would like to support self-published authors. I have a condition, though, and that is I will not be posting my review of self-published books that I didn’t enjoy. So, for self-published books, at least, I’ll only be posting my review of those that I rate to be 3-stars or more. (My 3-stars rating means I enjoyed it enough to say it’s worth the time and money I spent on the book.)

4. Write at least one poem per month.

By doing this, I could hopefully ensure there’s at least one post in this blog per month. I’d really like to keep my blog active from month to month, and not just have a ton of posts at the end of the year or something (which I fear might happen). I also have some past poems that are not posted (or are privated) but I’m not sure yet if I want to post (or un-private) them. (Also, can “private” be used as a verb? lol)

5. Watch and review at least one movie or show based on a fantasy or science fiction novel.

I was planning to do this for The Witcher last year, but, well, I didn’t. This year, I could still do The Witcher (before the new season), or I can do The Expanse (I’ve been wanting to read the books and watch the show for some time now), or Dune (I’m not sure how much of the first book I’ve read but I haven’t finished it that time and hoping to read from the beginning before the movie), or Shadow and Bone (I’m excited! I didn’t really like the main character but I love the world building in this series and I hope the upcoming Netflix show does it justice!)

6. Post at least one instagram photo, and one tweet per week.

I’m gonna populate my Steph Arven social media slowly but surely… with nice things of course! And for sure I’ll be following a bunch of nice accounts too. 

7. Complete plotting the outline for my next NaNoWriMo project before November.

As I’m going the plotting (rather than pantsing) route, an outline is a must. My pantsing gets me everywhere but the ending so I feel that plotting — with a little bit of pantsing — would provide much better results for me. Ideally, I would like to finish the outline early so I can send it to someone for feedback (like I did in 2019 — thank you for the helpful feedback, Jennifer Jarrett!)

8. Win NaNoWriMo 2021.

It’s been a while since I wrote 50,000 words in one month. I’d like to do that this year. I haven’t lost in Nano yet! (Unless you consider 2020, which I didn’t even participate in — though I’m sure I would have lost it if I did — I was quite busy at work and dealing with personal issues…)

8. Turn my zero draft of COTC into a first draft.

COTC stands for “Claire of the Corpses”, which is a temporary title so I’m simply gonna label it COTC from now on. This was my project for NaNoWriMo 2019 so I have roughly 50,000 words on it. There are missing scenes, descriptions, worldbuilding elements, etc. so my goal is to fill in all of those to complete the draft. (Of course, once I have a complete first draft, I’d still have to revise that.) I plan to use Camp Nano in April for this activity.

9. Rework my TMM outline.

TMM was my project for NaNoWriMo 2018 and it stands for “The Moonseeker’s Medallion”, which is a temporary title, so, like COTC, I’m just using it as a label. It’s a huge mess. Well, it’s a bit less messy now… but still a mess! So it’s not really a priority, but I still enjoy this world so I’ll try to get it a bit more organized for Camp Nano in July. 

10. Go on a one-week “writing retreat” by myself. 

Most likely, it will be a staycation at some hotel, where my activities will only be writing, eating, and sleeping. (And some other stuff for hygiene.) We are anticipating that work will be busier this year so I probably won’t have that much energy or mood to work on my writing on normal days. So this “writing retreat” shall be my answer to that.

To be frank, I have no idea right now if these goals are modest or ambitious. In theory, I feel like they’re totally doable, but then again, I had planned to do some of them last year… yet I didn’t (grr, 2020!) What I am sure of, though, is that I’m definitely feeling hopeful and have a much brighter outlook for 2021. 

Happy New Year!

I want to set realistic goals, but at the same time, challenge myself. I also want a clear list from which I can refer to at the start of 2021 to see what I have achieved and what I have failed to accomplish. Aside from that, I want to include in my list those that I have failed and keep doing so yearly until I achieve them (unless if they don’t make sense to be redone). And for those that I have achieved, I should either keep it or increase it – although, this only applies to countable goals (like how many books to read).

Now that I have set some ground rules, here are my goals…

2020 Reading Goals

  • Read 50 Books. I thought 50 books would be more or less easy for me, but I actually just barely made it last year. So this year, I’m gonna maintain this goal and hopefully, it’s easier this time around.
  • Beta read 3 WIPs. Last year from September to mid-November, I beta read 2 projects completely, and the first part of another project. More or less, I had a good experience, and so I hope to do the same this year. I’m doing the second part of that project now, signed up for another one just recently which will start soon, and will be looking for a third one once I’m done with that. (FYI, WIP stands for Work In Progress. Also, FYI stands for For Your Information. 😜)
  • Read 5 books published in 2020. I haven’t yet decided which books these are, but I’ll definitely be checking out books that are set to release this year and see what catches my interest.
  • Read 5 indie books published in 2020. I know some indie authors who will be releasing books this year, so I’m excited about those.
  • Read 5 books that won Goodreads Choice Awards in 2019. I expect these “award-winning” books to be excellent, so I’m going to be checking out that list for anything that interests me. And also to update myself as I may be slightly outdated.
  • Read 5 books from my Scribbler subscription boxes. I have been subscribed to Scribbler since mid last year but have yet to read any of the books that came with the boxes. I have a library of books on my iPad so I usually default to that for reading choices. Now, that I have my TBR cleared, I’m gonna check out those Scribbler books. (Scribbler is a monthly subscription box that comes with a book and writerly goodies. Check out their website here.)
  • Read 12 dark fantasy or horror books. My current project, tentatively called “Claire of the Corpses” is a dark fantasy (and horror, if I can help it) story. So naturally, I would like to read books from the same genre, maybe after I finish the draft, while I let it breathe. (I actually did “finish” the draft during NaNoWriMo last year, but I skipped several scenes and so I intend to fill them all up before going into revisions.)
  • Read the books I should have read last year. I talk about them in my last post, and this shall be the year I finally complete that list. 🤞

2020 Writing Goals

  • Complete COTC draft by March. COTC stands for “Claire of the Corpses” which is the tentative title for my current WIP.
  • Finalize TMM revised outline in April (Camp NaNoWriMo). This is my WIP for my 2018 NaNoWriMo project and this outline needs a huge overhaul! Before I even start writing one word of (well, a brand new) draft, I want to produce a cohesive outline that flows well. TMM stands for “The Moonseeker’s Medallion”, though recently I’ve changed the title to “Davathad” (which means “war” in my fictional language). Both these titles are tentative.
  • Finish COTC revisions in July (Camp NaNoWriMo). Hopefully, I can complete the draft in March so I can use Camp NaNoWriMo in July to do the revisions. I don’t want to start revisions right after completing the draft, as I may be too close to it to objectively correct mistakes, find plot holes, etc.
  • Brainstorm an outline for “New Project” in October (Preptober). I want to use NaNoWriMo to work on new ideas. This is the time to set aside anything I’m currently working on and focus on the ideas I have put on hold. I’m not sure if this is a good idea, jumping from one project to another, but depending on the actual progress of TMM and COTC by that time, I may just have to work on one of them for Nano and skip this step.
  • Draft 50K words of “New Project” in November (NaNoWriMo). I do intend to win NaNo again this year.
  • Write 12 new poems. I actually wish to join NaPoWriMo in April, but since last year I wasn’t even able to write 12 poems, I’ll just repeat that goal until I’m able to do it. (Okay, actually that’s a lie, I did write more than 12 poems but some of them are depressing and are about actual people that I don’t want to share them. I guess the goal is really to write and post 12 new poems.) Then, I can think about participating in NaPoWriMo. (NaPoWriMo is National Poetry Writing Month, which is in April. Check out their website here.)

2020 Blogging Goals

  • Post every Sunday. Definitely maintain a consistent posting schedule. Starting today.
  • Post at least 1 poem per month. This will tie in nicely to my 12 poems goal, although I’m hoping for more than 12 poems. I also want to write more haiku and free verse poems this year.
  • Review Witcher books. Witcher is constantly on my mind after having just watched the show. The Witcher books were the books I read after I’ve finished rereading the A Song of Ice And Fire books, like, five times that I had to tell myself to go find another book. Witcher 3 is my favorite video game of all time and I’ve spent more than 300 hours on it. This franchise is quite valuable to me so I thought it should reflect a little bit on my blog by reviewing the books.
  • Post reviews of the books I read for Indiecember 2019. I’m either gonna just repost the ones I posted on Amazon/Goodreads, or write about them a little bit more for this blog.
  • Create a WIP updates page to track my WIP progress publicly. It just makes me feel more accountable and motivate me to work on them more.

Aside from the above, I’ve decided to include some personal goals as well. Typical personal goals are financial goals and fitness goals. So I’m gonna go ahead and give those a shot:

2020 Financial Goals

  • Increase my Savings ratio by 1%. What the hell am I talking about? I’m talking about the “50-30-20 Rule”, which corresponds to Needs-Wants-Savings. Basically, it means that 50% of your spending should go to Needs (such as rent, bills, etc), 30% on Wants (shopping, entertainment, etc.), and 20% on savings or financial goals (like savings, investments, retirement plans, etc.). I began tracking my expenses in June of last year when I just started my new job, and based on that, my ratio is approximately 49-31-20. Which means Needs is 49%, Wants is 31%, and Savings is 20%. It’s unlikely my Needs will change, so I guess I’d like to transfer that 1% from Wants to Savings this year.

2020 Fitness Goals

  • Do plank pose for at least two minutes every day. I’m taking inspiration from my colleague on this as she does it and recommends it. I tried to do it in December but didn’t really do it daily. So I’ll do this goal for 2020 and if I can do it consistently, then maybe I can think about better fitness goals in 2021. I generally don’t like to exercise 😅 so I don’t want to overwhelm myself with fitness goals this year.

 

Do you think these goals are feasible? Am I challenging myself a little too much? Or maybe, it’s not enough and I need to challenge myself more?