Why you should be your own biggest cheerleader

In my newsletter a few weeks ago, I opened up about juggling all the balls, letting some drop and struggling with “adulting”.

It can be really tough doing everything you HAVE to do and leaving any time for the things you WANT to do. Especially without those want-tos starting to feeling like just another item on your neverending to-do list.

If you’re nodding along right now, I feel you. After my 9-to-5, looking after my 3-year-old and keeping all the essential plates spinning, I struggle to prioritise anything that brings me joy or is good for me (workout? Ugh, I don’t have the energy. Reading? I wish I had the time! Eating healthily? I don’t have time to cook a delicious, nutritious meal from scratch, it’ll have to be beige food from the freezer again).

But the thing is, if we don’t make time for the things we enjoy or that will move us towards a personal goal, then we’ll end up burnt out and miserable, and we’ll still be a mile away from the life we dream of in five, or ten, or twenty years’ time.

Be your own cheerleader

You know how we’re told not to worry about what others think of us, because they rarely do? They’re too busy focusing on themselves. Well, it’s absolutely true (wear the dress, eat the donut, dance like no one’s watching! Life is too short, people). And you know what else? Nobody is going to give you the life you dream of or the opportunity you’re waiting for if you don’t put in the work.

I said what I said.

But it’s not all doom and gloom. Doesn’t it sound liberating to know you’re the only one responsible for your own success, and there’s no one out there who can keep you away from it if you’re willing to work hard and persevere? OK, a little scary, but also liberating!

The thing is, no one cares about your life, your career, your goals and dreams and hopes for the future as much as you do. I’m sure your friends and family are really supportive and would do anything for you, but at the end of the day kids, it’s down to you.

Carve your own path

So, no gatekeeper is letting you into your chosen career or industry by the front door? Use the back door. Find a tiny, second-story window. Take a sledgehammer and smash your way in. (OK, that last one was a bit aggressive, be kind while also smashing your way in).

The best thing about the internet, social media, and the way we live our lives online nowadays is that it’s created so many options and so many ways to get ourselves and our work out there in front of the world. No matter what you want to do, there’s a way to do it yourself using the internet and a bit of brass neck. (Probably. I mean, if you’re trying to become a glaziologist studying icebergs in the Arctic, you might need a biology degree. But you get my meaning.)

Start a blog, launch a podcast, self publish your book, build an online following and sell your handmade crafts, study remotely and take classes by experts the whole world over. Find your community, make a name for yourself, support a cause that’s close to your heart, pay it forward and help the next person up the ladder behind you.

But most of all, be your own biggest cheerleader. And when it feels tough, let me do it for you.

You’re filled with unlimited potential, you can do anything you dream of, I believe in you!

Lyndsey

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Reading and writing goals for 2019

Happy holidays! I cannot believe 2018 is almost at an end, this year has been an absolute whirlwind. I thought I’d have a look back at my goals and how badly I did at achieving them, and then set some more for next year that I probably won’t achieve either! Ah, new motherhood. It’s all fun and games until somebody drops their biscuit.

So, last January I shared my Reading and writing goals for 2018 and announced that I was six months pregnant so my aim was set relatively low! Well, as you can imagine, I managed to completely undershoot that incredibly low goalpost. I decided to make 2018 the year of self-care and mindfulness, and despite failing to keep up with the journaling, I have tried to be kind to myself since my son arrived in April.

My first goal for 2018 was to journal every day or as often as I could. I also gave myself permission to put my journal down and pick it up later and not beat myself up if it had been weeks or even months since my last entry. Which is good, because I don’t think I have journaled once since I gave birth. But just reading my goals back and writing this post has got me itching to pick it back up again, so hopefully I can get back into it. No pressure though, it’s intended as self-care, not another thing I can berate myself for not being perfect at. 

My reading goal was to read 24 books this year, 2 a month with one being an audio book (proud Audible member over here). So, that didn’t happen. Having a new baby is definitely not compatible with reading for pleasure at length. I’m currently at 13. Yep. 

I did however manage to read the paperback of Tower of Dawn, even if it did take about 4 months. I think all the rest may have been audio books. Let’s look:

If you count 12 there, you’re exactly right. I actually DNF’ed The Lies of Locke Lamora and Goodreads has included it as I clicked Finished. I really thought I’d love this book, but it just didn’t do it for me – or maybe it was the narration, but either way, there are too many great books out there for me to force myself to finish something I wasn’t even enjoying. 

I’m almost finished reading A Court of Frost and Starlight (perfect festive read, very Frozen), so I’m hoping to add at least another 2 books to my list before January 1st.

Ah, my writing goal. I’ll give you a quick recap. In the spirit of self-care, I gave myself permission to not write a single word in 2018. I’m proud to say that didn’t happen, I actually have over 10,000 words of a new WIP. That WIP, however, is neither of the stories I mentioned in my January post. What is it, you might ask? Well, I broke the first tenet of the querying writer – I started writing the sequel.

I know, I know, it’ll probably be a waste of words. If I ever get an agent for The Fair Queen my editor might tear the whole thing to shreds and book two will be a pointless heap of mulch. But I just needed to wrap myself in the world I’d created while writing The Fair Queen, spend some time with my characters and feel at home. I wanted to get the ideas and words out of my brain, even if it only bears a very vague resemblance to the book that ultimately becomes book two in The Fair Chronicles (I’m going with chronicles, saga could work too, but I feel my world has similarities to Narnia, so chronicles it is).

I’ve actually shelved Cockle Shells & Silver Bells. I think I’ll keep some of the characters and themes, but rework them into a completely different story. Later though, right now I’m lost in the Five Kingdoms with Aria and Xander. The Resurrectionist is still tugging at the corners of my mind, so I’ll definitely try and outline something once I’m happy with The Solitary King. 

Goals for 2019

Reading goals

I’m revising my reading goal down to 16 books, so that’s 12 audio books and 4 paperbacks. If I can squeeze an actual physical book in every 3 months I’ll be happy. My TBR shelf is looking pretty jam packed and I even bought myself A Darker Shade of Magic (my very first V.E. Schwab!!!) a few months ago to tempt myself into reading more, but it just wasn’t happening. As soon as I finish ACOFAS though I’m jumping straight into that bad boy. I can just feel that I was meant to be a huge Schwab fan, it’s definitely happening. I mean, I’ve got THUG sitting there giving me a disapproving look – somebody tell my baby naps are life!

Writing goals

I really, really want to finish my first draft of The Solitary King and maybe even do a second draft before handing it over to a few trusted betas. I know it’s redundant at this point, but a couple of friends who read The Fair Queen and loved it have been badgering me for book two ever since, and they deserve to see what happens next for Aria, Xander and the gang. So, that’s at least 60,000 words. That’s achievable right? I’m saying yes. Wish me luck.

I’m also planning to dive back into the query trenches, as it’ll be a year since I sent any in January. It was a well deserved break, but I’m ready for the heartbreaking, soul-crushing rejection, and the little frisson of excitement every time I press send. Followed by ice-cold terror as I check my spelling and the agent’s name for the bazillionth time. 

So, there you have it: read 16 books, finish the first draft of my current WIP, and send a few more queries. Pretty low expectations, but if 2019 is anything like 2018 it’ll be enough to know I’m still working towards my dream, whilst also taking care of myself and my new little family. 

What are your reading and writing goals for the coming year? Let me know in the comments!

Lyndsey

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Reading and writing goals for 2019 | what I hope to read and write next year | Lyndsey's Book Blog

Reading and writing goals for 2018

Hi friends, happy New Year! I hope you had a nice break over the holiday season and are looking forward to a great year ahead. At this time of year it’s customary to make some resolutions for the coming twelve months, but as most resolutions are abandoned by mid-January, I tend not to make any as it’s just setting yourself up for failure (unless you’re super dedicated and determined, which, alas, I am not). I do, however, have a few goals I’m working on and plan to continue for the rest of the year, and onwards.

Rather than the usual weight loss or new job type goals (neither of which are even thinkable right now as I’m currently 6 months pregnant – yay!), I’ve decided to make 2018 the year of self-care and mindfulness.

2018 goals Lyndsey's Book Blog

2017 was a challenging year for many of us, for lots of different reasons. It was definitely one of the most difficult years of my life so far, and part of that was how I dealt with things and the coping mechanisms I had in place, or rather didn’t. I struggled with bouts of depression and anxiety due to various things in my personal life, but in the last few weeks I’ve been really focusing on self-care and trying to find ways and means to improve my own well being and mental health. I want to be as strong and healthy as possible for when this little one decides to make an appearance and turn our world upside down!

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Journaling

For Christmas, my beautiful soul of a sister-in-law bought me a gorgeous leather journal and a Harry Potter quill pen, which I obviously fell instantly in love with. I decided to start journaling as a way to get my thoughts and feelings out, to empty my busy mind after a long day and allow me to wind down.

As well as working through issues and negative thoughts and feelings, journaling allows you to remind yourself about all the wonderful things that have happened to you, your best memories, your favourite things and what you really like about yourself. I try to write at least two positive entries for every negative one. When I read back through my journal at the end of the year, or each month, or whenever I need a boost, I want to have more happy, uplifting entries than negative ones.

One of the key things I’m going to do this year is cut myself some slack when I don’t manage to keep to my goals, so if I don’t get around to journaling one day, or week, I’ll just start from wherever I am without beating myself up about it. I think one of the main reasons most resolutions are abandoned is because we tend to consider a slip-up as a complete failure, and we give up rather than try to persevere imperfectly. With self-care my main goal for 2018, I’m going to try and be kind to myself when I make mistakes or have minor slip-ups, in the grand scheme of things it won’t matter if I miss a day or two of journaling, it will matter if I manage to continue over the course of the year or even longer. It’s a new habit I’m trying to form, not a short-term fad, and I’m already feeling the benefits of getting my thoughts down on paper regularly.

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Reading

I fell a little behind on my Goodreads reading challenge in 2017, I had set my goal at 36 books and I think I managed 30, which is still several more than I managed the previous year so I’m proud of what I achieved, but I decided to readjust my goal for 2018. What with Baby Hall arriving sometime in early April, I doubt I’ll be able to improve on 30 so I’ve set myself a goal of 24 books. With my Audible membership I’m sure I can manage that, 12 audio books and 12 paperbacks sounds reasonable, right? New mums let me know, does reading a book a month seem doable? I might have to up my membership to two audio books a month….

In the August 2017 Illumicrate subscription box I got a Book Jar, which is a glass jar with a slit in the lid like a money jar, and I’ve filled it with slips of paper with the titles of books on my TBR to help me decide which book to read next. I’ve got at least ten unread books sitting on my shelf, and three audio books waiting in my Audible library, so that’s plenty to go on for now. Some of the books I own and haven’t gotten round to yet are:

  • The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
  • Rebel of the Sands by Alywn Hamilton
  • Wintersong by S. Jae-Jones
  • Red Sister by Mark Lawrence
  • Truth or Dare by Non Pratt
  • The Waking Land by Callie Bates
  • Tales from the Shadowhunter Academy by Cassandra Clare
  • Tower of Dawn by Sarah J. Maas

Which should I read first?

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Writing

I attempted NaNoWriMo in November, but only managed around 10k, so I’ve got another 60k at least before my new WIP (Cockle Shells & Silver Bells) is even a completed first draft. Not only that, but I’ve been besieged by a new plot bunny for a YA historical fantasy inspired by Burke and Hare (tentatively titled The Resurrectionist) and it’s taking everything I’ve got to not abandon my current WIP and just write the new story.

My main writing goal for 2018 is to end up with a finished first draft of CS&SB, and if I manage that I’ll be absolutely chuffed. I don’t expect to get even a first round of edits done, let alone have something ready to send to my beta readers, but if I do that would be amazing. I’m pretty sure I’ll be far too busy and preoccupied to do any more than a few thousand words of writing, but I’m going to give it a try, and not give myself a hard time if I get to the end of 2018 without adding a single word to my WIP.

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So those are my goals for 2018: journal every day, read 24 books and finish the first draft of my WIP. What are your goals for the new year ahead? I’d love to hear what you’re working towards and how you’re planning to make 2018 a fantastic year for you, let me know in the comments.

 

Lyndsey

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Reading goals for 2018 Lyndsey's Book Blog