new year

Writing and Goals in 2016

Happy new year!

I love the feeling of January. I love the newness of it all and its feeling of promise. Anything seems possible. The sky is the limit!

I’ve spent the last few weeks making endless lists of the things that I want to accomplish in 2016. In truth, I’m a little overwhelmed. As we all know, its much easier to make new year’s resolutions than it is to stick to them.

To start, I’ve settled on an intention for the year. Each year, I choose a word around which to center my actions. My word for 2015 was gratitude. For 2016, my word is NOURISH. Lots of things have changed in my life in the last year and I sometimes haven’t been very good about taking care of myself. In 2016, I want to spend more time making sure that I’m treating myself with love and care. As I detailed in this post, I’ve started to think of writing as a form of self-care, as a means to nourish myself and feed my need for self-expression and creativity.

My intention of nourishing myself feeds into my writing specific goals for the year. I’ve made a list of personal and professional writing projects.

My writing goals for this year include::

  • Writing two twelve week articles
  • Sending my book manuscript off for peer review by June
  • Bumping up my blogging to twice weekly.
  • Finishing my novel
  • Sending out a monthly newsletter
  • More journal writing

The problem with making goals is that they don’t come with a built in plan to get from Point A to Point B.  Much to my dismay, the act of creating a goal doesn’t automatically catapult me to the finish line. I used to engage in all kinds of magical thinking about my goals, imagining that just thinking about a goal would somehow bring it into being. As I discovered, I needed to make a PLAN.

(Incidentally, there’s this fascinating article about how the act of writing is much more powerful than we think and how writing down goals can actually empower us to achieve them)  
This year, I’m working on steering clear of magical thinking. I’m breaking down large yearly goals into monthly goals, weekly goals, and then figuring out what I need to do daily in order to take some steps towards what I want to accomplish. I’m trying to work backwards from my big goals, breaking them down into actionable steps that I can accomplish today.

So, for example, my goal sending off my book manuscript for peer review includes:


  • Reviewing one chapter per month [Intro+ four chapters + conclusion]
  • Finishing reading From Dissertation to Book


  • Week 1:Reviewing the chapter/making a list of revision tasks
  • Week 2: Revising the main argument
  • Week 3: Addressing structural and organizational problems
  • Week 4: Final editing and proofreading


  • 20-40 minutes of daily writing
  • 30 minutes of reading

Using even more adult skills, I’m scheduling my writing on my calendar.

What are your goals for 2016? How do you plan to reach them?

Other miscellaneous news items:

American Historical Association meeting: 

If you’ll be at the AHA, I’m presenting my own research in a poster session on shopping, department stores, indigenous textiles, and ethnographic memory in Guatemala. Come by and say hi!  

My 2016 Reading Project:

In reviewing my reading life this year on LibraryThing, I realized that my reading was not very diverse. I’d been reading books written by people like me for people like me about people like me. In an effort to bring more diverse voices into my life, I’ve decided that in 2015, I want to read twelve books written by people of color. I’ve chosen to start in January with W.E.B. DuBois’s The Souls of Black Folk. I will probably need the Cliff Notes. If anyone is interested in reading along, I would be happy to readit with you and chat about it. I’m thinking about hosting a Twitter chat at the end of January to discuss it. I’m excited to learn about new people and perspectives.

My new newsletter:

I’m starting a newsletter this year, which you can sign up for here. In the inaugural edition, I’m writing about how my writing practice interacts with my 2016 intention of NOURISH.

Onward into the new year!

[Photo: Flatirons. Boulder, Colorado. December, 2015.]