My 2019 Writing and Reading Goals

The beginning of a new year makes me reflect on the work I’ve done over the past twelve months and plan ahead for what I’d like to accomplish in the following year. So today I’d like to share my writing and reading goals for 2019.

Being a stay-at-home writer, I struggle with motivation. I have gone through many iterations of schedules and reward systems to try to figure out the best way for me to stay motivated and get work done. But the problem with doing this is that it became more about hitting the hours and achieving the reward than about doing the work God has called me to.

So now my goal list on my cork board only has one item—to write the book I’m working on. Because that’s all that matters

I’m not putting a timeline on it, because that system doesn’t work for me. I can’t rush this. I simply need to remind myself each day that I’m writing for God and that he’s called me to do this work. Motivation comes naturally when I realize I’m working for the Lord.

“Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people.” (Colossians 3:23)

As far as reading goes, I crushed my 2018 goals. My goals were to read 35 fiction and 10 nonfiction books, totaling 45 books. I ended up reading 43 fiction and 17 nonfiction books, for a total of 60 books.

I’m going to up my goals, but keep them under the totals that I read this year so I don’t push myself too far. The only reason I read as many as I did is because of audiobooks, but I’m going through a phase right now in which I’m not really listening to them and I don’t know how long this phase will last.

So because of that, my goals for 2019 are to read 40 fiction and 15 nonfiction books, for a total of 55 books. I do hope to read more than that, but I don’t know if that’s realistic if I’m not listening to audiobooks as often.

2019 Writing Goals
What are your writing and reading goals for the year?

In 2019 I want to keep things simple and focus on the reason why I’m doing this work in the first place. God called me to be a writer. My purpose is to write stories for and about women finding hope despite pain. And that’s enough for me.


What are your writing and reading goals for this year?

A Writing Resource You Should Be Using: Hoopla Digital

A while back I wrote about falling in love with audiobooks and how listening to books is a great way to fit in more reading in your life. At the time I had just discovered the app Hoopla Digital—a resource my library lets me use for free—and I had no idea how life-changing this app would be.

You can sign up for Hoopla with your library card, and then you have access to thousands and thousands of titles. Hoopla has ebooks, comics, movies, music, and—my favorite—audiobooks. And the best part is that you don’t need to wait for books like a traditional library or even some digital libraries. There is a limit to how many you can titles you can borrow per month, but you can download and enjoy right away!

IMG_3222
This is what your Hoopla library looks like. I always have a bunch of audiobooks checked out.

As writers we’re supposed to read as much as we write. This lets you know what’s out there so you can keep current in your genre. Reading also inspires you and shows you how to write.

But it’s hard to find time to read that much. And when I do sit down and read, I sometimes feel guilty I’m not using that time to write.

Even though it’s difficult to fit in all of my reading hours, Hoopla makes it so much easier with their vast library of audiobooks. I can read books by listening to them so much quicker than if I sat down and read print copies. And Hoopla lets me fit in reading easily throughout my day. Some of my favorite times to listen to audiobooks are when I’m:

  • getting ready in the morning
  • getting ready for bed
  • cleaning
  • crafting
  • doing puzzles
  • coloring

I’ve been able to read so much more and I love it.

IMG_3223
Some of my favorite books-the Selection series-are all on Hoopla. And my favorite part of the app is that I can listen to books at different speeds, like 1.5x.

This is a writing resource you should definitely be taking advantage of if your library provides it.

Falling in Love with Audiobooks

Back in high school, I hated (almost) everything we were assigned to read. To me, they were all boring books that were written a hundred years ago that had nothing to do with my life. Though I was retaught some of them in college and actually like them now, like The Great Gatsby, I sadly still have little patience for anything written before my lifetime. However, I discovered in high school something that made reading all of those books bearable—audiobooks.

I would get the texts on CD from the library and listen as I drove to and from school. It was so easy to fly through the day’s reading assignment by doing this, and it made the books even kind of interesting. It was nice to have a story be read aloud to me, like a parent tucking you into bed.

I then went to college and, being an English major, lost all time to read what I actually wanted to read. My days were filled with the dozens of assigned texts I had to read for my classes. And being forced to read all of these books made me lose my love for reading.

When I graduated I rediscovered my love after realizing how much time I now had to read. It’s been almost two years since I’ve graduated, and I’ve read 102 novels. But I think that the number will be much higher for the coming years, as I have also rediscovered my love of audiobooks.

It started with a book that I found difficult to read in print but that I loved the concept of—Need, by Joelle Charbonneau. I enjoyed reading The Testing trilogy by Charbonneau, so when I saw her new book was about the dangers of social media, I had to pick it up. I gave up after about fifty pages though, as I felt it wasn’t smooth on the page. But then a few months later I found the audiobook version at my library, and I gave it another try. And I am so glad I did.

need
Need by Joelle Charbonneau

Just like those books in high school, listening to the audiobook made the story so much more interesting and easy to get through. And this story was so worth it, because it ended up being an incredible book about how social media can make teenagers do things they would not do without the anonymity of the Internet and make them complete seemingly random and secretly dangerous tasks with the promise of a material reward.

After falling in love with audiobooks again, I discovered an app that my library lets you use for free—called Hoopla—that has tons of audiobooks on it. And the best part is that you can listen to them at varying speeds. I like to listen at 1.5x normal speed, so I can get through books quickly. And I love that it is on my Kindle and phone, so that I can listen as I get ready in the morning instead of having to use a CD player or just listen in the car.

hoopla-dumplin
Dumplin’ by Julie Murphy on Hoopla’s App

So I encourage you, if you have trouble getting into books or even finding the time to read, try audiobooks. It is really interesting to have a novel read aloud to you, and doing so makes it so much easier to fit reading into your day.