A Happy New Year to you all. This year, I’m all about chucking off the sluggishness of the Covid years to Make Things Happen. And I hope to drag you all along with me. I’m a firm believer that stating your intentions for the year does help, so that’s what I’m going to do. Gulp.

Firstly I intend, by the end of spring,  to finish off the four manuscripts which are nearly there. Then I intend to pick up a particular novel which is at first draft stage and get that as good as I can by December. Basically I’m going overwhelm my agent with all that I have to offer.
That means saying no to other things which encroach on the writing time. Easier said than done, but how else is it going to happen? I’m still one of the SCBWI Scotland Network Organisers, but only for this year and I’m also the Board Secretary for Moniack Mhor but think 2023 will also be my last stint at that. You heard it here first, right? Hold me to it.

I’m also aiming to reduce that ‘to be read’ pile significantly, and for this I do have a plan, which I’ll share with you in case there is anything useful here for your own reading practices.
So… in 2022, I read 87 books, and this year I’m aiming to make this 100. Just writing that figure down makes me feel a bit queasy with anticipation, but I met someone recently who manages at least that and she shared some of her methods with me.

Firstly I’m going to make sure the physical book I have on the go is one I can manage right now at this moment in time and I’ll allow my mood, tiredness, interest and brain space to dictate that. I’ve often picked up the next book to read based on what I feel I “should’ read rather than what I’m in the mood for.
Secondly, kindle. I’ve had one of these for years but my use of it has faded. I like physical books, and I find some books impossible to manage on kindle. For instance, anything with a complex plot or lots of characters where you might need to flick back through to check things. Couldn’t read War and Peace on a kindle! But sometimes I’m awake during the night and can’t read a physical book because putting the light on would wake the other half. So I’m going to use the kindle for those thrashing about, can’t sleep moments. Which means having easy to pick up and put down books on that device. Already I’ve devoured a couple of Jenny Colgan’s that way. (I guess the disadvantage is that my brain might start waking me up more frequently in order to get on with the kindle book. I’ll see how it goes).
Thirdly, all that wasted time when I can’t read. Journeys, on buses, in cars, planes, cycling even? Pottering round the house. Cleaning. Gardening. So many wasted hours – but not any longer! I’ve subscribed to audible to get more books consumed during these sessions. Now given that I don’t want to die horribly in a car accident or miss my bus stop, the books for this device need to be chosen carefully. Non-fiction! Absolutely, right? I’ve recently spent a few hours on buses listening to Fifty Words for Snow, which is perfect to drift in and out of. About to start listening to Billy Connolly reading the next installation of his autobiography.

You may have all got there before me and have been doing all this for years, but if not, I hope those suggestions are helpful. Why not join/ follow me on a 2023 Goodreads’ challenge? (I find Goodreads really helpful as an aide memoire to what I have read and when)

On the subject of books read – this month’s blog is my top 20 of books read in 2022. I know that this blog will probably increase your to be read pile, but hopefully you now have a couple of ideas for getting through the pile faster.

And to test your reading depth, here is my Christmas book quiz in Words and Pictures. (If you missed the quiz in 2021, here it is as well)

How to write
The start of a new year felt like a good time to introduce you to this gem of a book. I wrote about the joys of bullet journaling for Words and Pictures a few years ago, and I’m still bullet journaling, thanks to this book. if you love notebooks and like to be organised, this book is for you.

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