Monday, June 18, 2018

Summer 2018: Reading and Writing Goals

Well, after having already celebrated two graduations and a wedding shower, and gearing up for even more family events to come in the next couple of months, I think I'm pretty confident in saying that summer has finally arrived. Of course, it's not officially here until the 21st, but like every set of goals in your life, it's probably best to get them sorted out in advance.

Every summer since I was about 13, I've given myself a reading challenge over the course of my break, from completing 25 books (the standard throughout high school), to checking off library bingo cards, to last summer's podcast-inspired rereading of Twilight. Naturally, this year isn't any different... or is it?

Here are some of the challenges I've decided to undertake for Summer 2018...

ray bradbury challenge, and camp nano

Those who have been following my blog for a while might remember my NaNoWriMo project this past November: to use the course of the 50,000-words-in-a-month challenge to build out a collection of short stories, a medium I had only written for once before.

This summer, I'm trying something a little similar. Ray Bradbury was once quoted as giving this writing advice: "Write a short story every week. It's not possible to write 52 bad short stories in a row." I've decided to adopt that mantra as a form of challenge for over the course of the summer: I'm going to try and write around one short story a week, with the objective that by the end of the challenge, I'll have at least five or six complete short stories before my family goes on vacation in August.

This way, I'll continue to flex those same concise-and-consistent storytelling muscles that I started to build up back in November, in the hopes that I'll keep improving in the medium. Thankfully, Camp NaNoWriMo is almost here (for the month of July!), so I'll be including my word counts towards that particular endeavor.

And who knows? Maybe in the end, I'll come up with something really worth reading... and maybe I'll have to test that theory on other people!

reading romance: an introduction to bodice-rippage 

For almost all of my reading life, I've traversed regularly over a consistent breadth of genres. Sure, I have my set of tried-and-true favorites - Biography and Memoir, Mystery, History, Self-Help, and Fantasy - but for the most part, I cover a significant amount of library ground.

Except, that is, when it comes to Romance!

And I'm not just talking about books with an undercurrent or subplot of romances, or even YA contemporaries that make romance the whole plot... I'm talking about dime-a-dozen '80s Harlequin mass market paperbacks. I'm talking about covers full of bare torsos and flowing dresses. I'm talking about the kinds of books I'm fully prepared to rent from the library or get on my Kindle, because I can't have the physical presence of those purchases manifested in the real world.

But why am I doing this, other than to make up for an area of bookish experience that I currently lack? I've been party to enough Gender and Women's Studies discussions on the feminist origins and theming of romance novels, without having actually gotten an up-close-and-personal look at the material, and I want that to change.

Keep your eyes out for an update soon on exactly what this kind of challenge is going to look like!

playing in the pages, on the 'gram

I've been toying with the idea for a while now of starting an Instagram account separate from my own personal one, on which to post all of my reading and writing updates that would be more in keeping with what I promote on this blog.

It's not that my own Instagram doesn't provide enough real estate for that kind of thing, but that it's geared a little more towards things like my family and friends, regular hobbies, and major life events, rather than reading time. It's not something I update terribly regularly, and honestly, I'd like to save it for some of the important stuff.

Additionally, I've been looking for a means of keeping myself a little more personally accountable for my reading and writing habits, and I wanted to start taking more pictures of these things that I do so frequently.

I figured that the best way to tick all of these boxes, was to start an Instagram profile specifically for these objectives: I can post daily accounts of how my writing is going, what I'm reading, and what I've been posting on the blog, while also upping the amount of pictures I take on a regular basis, and not bugging everybody in my regular life while doing so (while also hopefully making some new friends interested in the subject, too!).

other reading goals for 2018

Library Book Bingoes in Seattle and Tacoma

Another summer to me means, of course, another set of book bingo cards courtesy of the Seattle and Tacoma Public Libraries. This year, I'm not just aiming for another set of bingoes, but also looking to take on some of the more difficult blocks on the Tacoma card, like attending a library event, or utilizing some of their non-bookish resources, like the buildings index or cd rental systems. Others, like making a recipe from a library cookbook, or taking a shelfie at the library, are things my brother and I are already looking forward to completing together!

Continuing Harry Potter Rereads

I'm halfway through Goblet of Fire right now - I know, I know, the same thing I said in my most recent "Year with Harry" recap - and am looking forward to my next Potter Party with my brother, but I have to say, I thought I'd be further along in this journey by now! I'm trying to read at least the fifth book by the beginning of August, because we've still got a ways to go on this particular adventure.

Reading books from my TBR shelves instead of the Library

Out of all of my resolutions for 2018, this one is probably off to the roughest start, because out of the over 30 books I've recorded in my Goodreads Challenge for this year so far, only about 8 of them have come courtesy of my TBR shelves, the rest having been rereads or library checkouts. Yikes! That's got to change over the summer, which makes for the perfect time to tackle those tomes that might be a little too thick, intimidating, or otherwise require more attention than your average beach read.

What are some of your reading and writing goals for the summer? What are some projects you're trying to tackle in the sunshine? Let me know, in the comments below!

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