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text 2016-01-05 05:00
Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Resolutions for 2016

It's been a little while since I had a Top Ten Tuesday post, and I had actually planned to pen this entry anyway, so it was perfect timing with the turn of the new year.


This was my post from last year, and mostly - last year's goals will be a repeat for this year, though with a few new updates.


Suffice to say, 2015 was a busy year for me personally.  While I was able to do many things within the year, it was a slow reading and writing year.  So I'm hoping that what I didn't accomplish in 2015 will be things that I ace in 2016.


Here are my top ten resolutions for the new year:


  1.  I will read 350 books this year.  My effort to read 450 books last year, unfortunately, was a failure.  I'm still doing the final tally for my 2015 year end post, but it looks like - including re-reads - that I barely made it above 150 books last year alone.  The problem came from two things: massive book hopping (meaning I didn't finish as many books as I started) and not doing a very good job of keeping track of what I was reading and when on my book communities.  Though I'm happy to say I made a lot of trips to the library last year (much to the chagrin of my twin, who tells me I read too much already. She read one book last year, which is actually really good for her considering she has more of an issue with book hopping and DNFing stuff).
  2. I will work to get to 75% feedback ratio on NetGalley this year.  This will effort on my part since I'm about 30% now with submissions.  That may not seem like much to get up to speed with until you realize just how many books I've got to submit feedback for, some even reaching back to 2012-2o13ish.  But my goal this year is to work through my list, decide what to take on, and just stick with the schedules I plan ahead of time. I think I can improve my scheduling for this year with better time management.  And while I started the NetGalley spotlight posts last year to help with this, I'll have to be better about sticking to my reading schedule for it to work.
  3. I will be better about making posts on the blog - almost every day of this year.  Part of this will be steadily bringing back theme day posts, and also bringing back some of my old posts out of archive/draft form.  I have far too many posts that I have submitted drafts for, but never posted to the blog - I'm thinking it's because my train of thought and planning was there, but somehow ended up getting stalled - much like my massive book hopping issues last year.
  4. Publishing two writing projects in 2016.  So I ended up not completing the writing projects I wanted to last year because I ended up starting (and finishing) two completely projects that I worked on last year for Camp NaNo and NaNoWriMo.  So I can pat myself on the back for finishing my NaNo stuff last year (whoo-hoo!)  but not having anything to show for it (Ughh).  And mostly that progress has been behind the scenes and another reason why my posting was sporadic last year, between working with day job and focusing more on the editing process. I've had to push some stuff back, but I'm hoping to be better about this for 2016 and keep you guys informed when I'm planning to release.
  5. Do More Reading Challenges.  I failed almost all of my reading challenges last year (my Audiobook challenge was the only one I kicked butt on - ended up reading over 60 audiobooks - my YA and other stuff though - not so much), so this is a carry over.  
  6. Record more Video/Writing tutorials (and possible audio/V-blogs) - carry over from last year's goals.  This will probably start sometime in March or April.  Reason being is that I ended up ordering better audio/recording equipment mid to late last year (including a new headset - because my other one failed.  Which is why I ended up not recording anything last year.)
  7. Read more books across a span of genres.  I accomplished this goal last year, and I'm making it a goal for this year as well.  I'll have a more thorough breakdown of what I ended up reading in my 2015 Year End post.
  8. Making myself finish stuff I have pending before starting anything new.  General goal - I recognized this as a problem last year with both my reading and writing.  I always get excited to start new things, but I find my mind kept wanting to hop to something different.  It wasn't really writer's/reader's block as much as it was having too many things in my head that I wanted to get down or do, and just transitioning between those in-progress projects or goals made no time for me to actually come back and finish what I started.  So definitely making myself stick to that this year and show some fruit from the things I've done - as well as share it with all of you.
  9. Cleaning out my TBR jars.  I have the crafts, I have the jars.  I actually enjoyed making the ones I've shared in the past, and I'd like to share more of that.
  10. Catching up with my book reviews. At the end of 2016 - I want to have written reviews for everything that I've read in the past several years and have actively caught up with my "pending reviews" and "on-hold" lists.  So that's something to look forward to doing.


That's everything.  I'm ready to take on 2016 - let's bring it.




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text 2015-02-27 05:42
Writing goals? Don't bother

Do you set writing goals?


Do you structure your day to make time for writing?


Do you feel guilty about not writing?




Two things. First. Life is about choices. If you’re not writing then you’ve made a choice to do something else; have kids, a successful career, maybe a loving relationship. Sure, sometimes we make a mistake and it might take some time to dig ourselves out from under it. But there’s no reason for not getting back on track. It’s about priorities.


Second. Don’t set writing goals or establish times to write because you’ll only feel miserable when you can’t attain them.


For years I lived a structured life. I executed my days like a general commanding troops going into battle beginning the night before with setting out the clothes I was going to wear and triple checking my over booked daytimer to find efficiencies that would allow me more time to fulfill my mission.


I was ambitious, I was aggressive, I got results, but than it wasn’t what you’d call a creative endeavor.


When I was able to commit more time to doing what I love, that’s writing, I decided I couldn’t approach it the same way – like an enemy that had to be defeated. I’d have to come to it willingly and with an open heart and mind.


I wanted to enjoy what I did and enjoy it all the time, forever. I didn’t want to feel guilty. I didn’t want to feel pressured. I wanted writing to be my one true thing, unsullied by deadlines, production schedules, other people’s expectations.


Early in the new year I was at a dinner party and someone asked what goals I had for 2015. I no longer set goals, I said. My companions seemed taken aback. Well how then, they asked, do you stay motivated? How do you measure your achievements?


What better motivation is there than to be doing what you love, I told them. As for my achievements, they seem only to matter to others.  Writing is not a problem with a solution, a journey with a destination. I breathe, I think, I write.


The rest seems to look after itself.



My new novels, FOREST – Love, Loss, Legend and The BIG PICTURE – A Camera, A Young Woman, An Uncompromising Ethic (now in paperback) are available on Amazon http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B003DS6LEU and at https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/raglin


Read Reviews https://readersfavorite.com:book-review:39014


Visit my publisher’s website for excerpts from, and buy links to, my three novels, Spirit Bear, Eagleridge Bluffs, and Not Wonder More – Mad Maggie and the Mystery of the Ancients. http://www.devinedestinies.com/?route=product%2Fauthor&author_id=92


More of my original photographs can be viewed, purchased, and shipped to you as GREETING CARDS; matted, laminated, mounted, framed, or canvas PRINTS; and POSTERS. Go to: http://www.redbubble.com/people/rodraglin


View my flickr photostream at https://www.flickr.com/photos/78791029@N04/

Or, My YouTube channel if you prefer photo videos accompanied by classical music








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text 2014-01-02 01:57

Set up my first several reading challenges this year. I'm going to halt my current reads for now, and start working on my review backlog. I have to go through pretty much all the books in my marked queue and write reviews for them, ARCs are priority. Some I might have to pick up my copies and refresh my memory. Not sure if I can get it done tonight/tomorrow, but I'll do as many as I can.


And after that, I may do some edits on my WIPs.  Happy reading/writing all.

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text 2013-12-31 23:05
My Goals for 2014

I'm still currently penning more of my Favorite Reads entries for 2013, but I figure a goal setting post for the new year wouldn't hurt.  (And I credit Howdy YAL's post for jogging my mind to actually do something like this for the year to keep track of.)


2013 was an eventful year for me, in that I ended up accomplishing a lot without necessarily having a central place to keep track of all my respective goals.   As of today, I'll have read 365 books for the present year, which is the most I've read in a long time. (I once read 400+ books in the course of a year before, but that was back in secondary school and I read all kinds of books the summer of that year, it was insane.)


I'm a fast reader, but I'd like to be even faster than I am now, so I think next year's goal will probably be at 450 books.


Goodness help me, that's going to be quite a hurdle to jump, but with the amount of books I have on the TBR, I can easily do it.  Well, not easily, but you know what I mean. =P


Another thing that I've been able to accomplish over the years is having written about 15 trunk novels, three of them just penned this year.  Meaning I've written them, over 50,000 words, but I haven't actually published anything. Some of the barriers that I think played a part of this are:


  • Lack of time
  • Lack of resources
  • Project left by the wayside and forgot to come back to it
  • Writing a project, then jumping to another
  • Tough inner critic (I'm probably much harder on myself than I am on certain things I read)
  • Indecision


I wrote a futuristic YA Argentine dystopian novel.  (Blood by Fire) - finished earlier this year, but not edited. I mentioned this project a few times when I was doing research on issues in Argentina and the backdrop of the Dirty War.  Ended up being over 80,000 words.


I wrote a YA cyberpunk story which was the subject of my last post. (Untitled for now, though I have a few titles I'm juggling between for it)


I wrote a YA story about two teen bloggers who deal with the aftermath of criticizing a very popular book, and standing up for what they believe against the very real backlash. (The Eyes of Caramel and Clover)


I really want to SP "Blood By Fire" and the YA cyberpunk story in 2014.   The latter's probably going to come first and it may be beginning or middle of the year.  "Blood By Fire" I still feel like I have more work to do on it and I'm not comfortable sharing it until I edit it down more, but I'm taking a break from it because I need mental space to be able to tackle that at a given time.


"Eyes of Caramel and Clover" might just be shared just to share if I feel comfortable doing it and if people want to read it.  My issue with that story is whether it's appropriate to share it when this is still a rampant problem (even to the point of what happened here on BL and GR in the past week).  Or would it be better to share it and have it out there as food for thought?  I don't know yet, but I'm mentally battling that out, and I'm hoping I come to some decision in the new year about it.


I definitely want to continue reading outside my comfort zone, but exercise more discretion about the books I pick up.  Which means limiting my NetGalley and Edelweiss requests.  That's going to be a challenge, though I'm currently under an ARC request hiatus until February.  So far I'm holding steady with it.  This also means tailoring down the amount of books I pick up in a given genre.  My New Adult ventures were both a success and failure this year, which was an unwritten goal I set.  I read just over 100 NA books.  80% of them, or thereabout, ended up being bombs.  I'll probably do a comprehensive post on that later.


I want to participate in more reading/book challenges.  This includes memes too.  I fell off the bandwagon with my Book Playlist challenge, so I'll just have to pick it up starting next year.  A few of the ones that I want to participate in already are as follow:


A-Z Reading Challenge (Read 26 books with each letter of the alphabet)

YA Genre Challenge (Read one book for each major subcategory of YA)

Finish the series (Complete a full book series in 2013, reread or new)


There are a few others, but I think I'll add them later as I go along.


I definitely want to clear out my review queue.  For good.  I have too many books from even the past few YEARS that I haven't written yet, and I need to start getting that down.  Some of the books I may have to re-read, because it's been so long since I've picked them up that my memory isn't as fresh as I'd like it to be.


Organize my book catalog better.  This is a challenge because I need to revamp my digital shelves and organize them.  On BL, GR, and LM as far as my active communities are concerned.  I have accounts on other book cataloguing communities, but I need to decide whether or not I'll be active or keep those accounts.


Do a blog tour, ARC giveaway drive, and keep up with theme day entries on my blog.  I've tried these in the past, they did not work out as well as I hoped.  I think 2014 will be the year I give myself a good kick in the seat of the pants and try to do all of these.  I have a hefty blog following now, but I could be doing more with this. It may be that I have to change my theme days and follow more established ones like "Top Ten Tuesday".  My "Soapbox Saturday" posts I'd love to do more of and give people food for thought, but I may try to do more topics than just bookish/writery reflections.  I did that quite a bit in the past given controversies that came across, but I think I can do more with it than that.


Record video tutorials.  I do this off and on for my YouTube channel. I started doing video tutorials for BookLikes and some various writing measures (writing software, writing tips) this year, but it didn't work out the way I wanted them to.  I think BL's done a lot since I started these that I'm just going to scrap the ones I have and make new ones.  I'll probably start recording and getting these out by mid-January and go from there.  See how it goes.


I think that covers my goals for the upcoming year.  I definitely hope they come to fruition, and I'll try my best to make them work out.

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