Welcome to 2017! Finally.
I loooooooooooooooooooooooooove New Year’s–Eve and Day. It may be one of my favorite holidays. It’s a time for new beginnings, goal-setting, and planning the future. What’s not to love? (Nothing).
Okay, let’s talk resolutions.
I have one main writing resolution and one main reading resolution.
This year, I decided to focus on resolutions that get me closer to larger, longer-term goals. For example, my writing resolution is:
Sign with an agent
Not sign like ASL, but actually land an agent with my current WIP, SAAFire.
This would get me one step closer to being published and it means laying out smaller goals to finish the manuscript and begin querying. I definitely think this is doable and I already have that timeline (from edits to query stage) laid out (coming soon in another blog post!).
My reading resolution is:
Win the 2017 Diverse Reads Book Challenge!
And try to keep up with this one, too: Read Diverse 2017
Why diverse book challenges?
When I tell people I try to read diversely, I get a lot of skeptical looks and comments like, “Ugh, why can’t you just read books for their stories?”
Setting aside how that kind of implies diverse books don’t have good stories…
Hey, did you YOU know that a lot of books that are included on the recommended reading list for that challenge are probably NOT on your local Barnes and Noble’s bookshelves?
Did you know many of those authors likely faced resistance to having their book published BECAUSE it was about a “diverse” character?
That’s the whole point of this challenge! It isn’t to brush all stories by mainstream authors about mainstream characters aside, it’s an acknowledgement that other authors and other characters are probably not as easily stumbled across.
So many good STORIES aren’t in stock in your favorite bookstore because they’re too “diverse.” I do read books for their stories, I just now pay attention to the demographics of the characters, too.
I used to browse bookstores for most of my choices until I took a hard look at my own bookcase about a year ago and realized that this strategy meant I read primarily white authors writing about white characters. White authors and characters who usually happen to also be straight, cisgender, and able-bodied.
Now, there’s nothing wrong with that at all! Those are legitimate stories and experiences.
But this last year of making a small effort to read more diversely has opened my eyes to how many stories you can really read. Where I used to think that basically every story had been told, I now KNOW that reading outside my lane opens up a whole new reading experience.
Now I search for good books on diversity lists with a hunger I never had before and I have the TBR shelves to prove it. The reading challenge above is a wonderful way for me to continue trying to sate that hunger and connect with other readers.
The way I use different internet platforms has changed over the year both as I move forward with my WIP and as the election unfolded. I wanted to become more involved in politics at the same time as I started really delving into what it takes to get published and start putting my work out there.
Since I’m focusing more on reading widely and voraciously, what better way to hold myself accountable than to track that on this blog? As such, I’ll be building in some ways to track what I’ve read and reviewed here.
Also, this is a reeeaaaallly nerdy thing but I kind of have this profile for Tableau public, a visualization software, and I was totally going to do some data visualization on my 2017 reading. I already have the Excel sheet set up to feed it and make some fun charts showing progress.
I know, I know, it’s suuuuper nerdy BUT I think it’s going to be cool and it’s my blog so there.
What are you resolutions for 2017? Are you going to join us in the reading challenge?