If there’s something that you should know about me–the Book Club Babe–it’s that I’m obsessed with goal-setting. I love writing tasks down and crossing them off the second they’re completed. The rest of the world may have gone digital, but there’s nothing like a paper life planner (especially my new one from Erin Condren) to keep me organized.
At the beginning of the year, I listed my top ten goals for 2016. Usually I just do my end-of-year check-in to see how I did, but I have realized that I need more accountability. This means that I’ll be providing quarterly updates of my progress to keep everything transparent. It’s easy to brag when you’re kicking butt, but I also need to be honest with myself when I need a kick in the butt!
So here we go! After three months, how am I doing?
1. Read 20 more books (4 books read in Q1, progress at 20%): SLIGHTLY BEHIND
So far I have read Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry, Between You and Me, and The Heart Goes Last (review coming soon!), and I’m currently reading Eleanor and Park, the oh-so-popular YA romance by Rainbow Rowell. I’m supposed to be done with the book by Apr. 9 to stay on track, but that might be too difficult a challenge. I’m not worried though, because I imagine that I’ll make up for lost reading time on my long international flights to and from Europe next month!
2. Don’t buy any new books for myself until I’ve read everything I currently own (No new books purchased): ON TRACK
I’m proud to say that I have successfully avoided the siren call of new books! It doesn’t mean that I’m reading any less, however, since I’m using the library more often, and my boyfriend sweetly gave me a gift card on Valentine’s Day to spend at San Francisco’s famous City Lights bookstore, so I’ve now added Neil Gaiman’s American Gods and J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Silmarillion to my to-read list. I also received an Apple gift card when I purchased my new iPhone SE yesterday, which will probably go towards audiobooks on iTunes–instead of an Apple TV, much to said boyfriend’s dismay!
3. Read 10 new authors (3 new authors read in Q1, progress at 30%): SLIGHTLY AHEAD
Out of the four books I read this quarter, three were written by authors unfamiliar to me, which is fantastic! And as I mentioned earlier, I’ll soon be able to add Rainbow Rowell and Neil Gaiman to reach the halfway mark. With nine more months of 2016 to go, I’m positive that my book club will recommend some great new authors to me to finish my goal!
4. Reach 100,000 total blog views (reached 5,730 views of the 22,835 total needed this year, progress at 25%): ON TRACK
Based on these numbers, I envision reaching this goal by the skin of my teeth. I knew that it would be a stretch, but it would be awesome to say that I’ve hit 100K total views after five years of blogging. I’ve called Book Club Babe the little blog that could, and as long as I keep writing, sharing on social media, and participating in the book blogging community, it can succeed!
5. Blog at least once per week (blogged 15 times in 13 weeks of Q1, progress at 29%): SLIGHTLY AHEAD
Much to my surprise, I have managed to blog at least once per week this quarter. I can never promise that I’ll blog at a certain time on a particular day, but if I want to reach 100k views, then blogging regularly is a must–no matter how busy life gets while juggling work and a social life!
6. Write 10,000 words of my novel per month (wrote 3,100 words out of 30,000 needed in Q1, but 0 words on my novel): REALLY BEHIND
The moment of shame: I have totally dropped the ball on working on my novel. Those closest to me are not at all shocked, since I have absolutely no procrastinating tendencies except for the work that really matters. In fact, the only writing that I have accomplished this quarter is a short story that I wrote as a gift, which is great but doesn’t really count.
That said, I should have specified in this goal to write 10,000 words per month until my novel is finished. I have 45,000 words, or about 140 pages, of my novel already completed, so I’m at the halfway mark. If I can complete another 45,000 words before 2017, I’ll still consider this goal a success!
7. Complete the first draft of the manuscript of my novel (no progress made on novel in Q1): REALLY BEHIND
As I stated previously, this is the goal that’s the true indicator of winning. And as luck would have it, today’s the first day of April’s Camp NaNoWriMo! After participating in NaNoWriMo for the past three Novembers, perhaps the lesser-known camp sessions are the motivation I need to write more regularly. I’ve just signed up and have committed to writing 10,000 words this month. If I achieve this goal and repeat it for the camp in July, in addition to the 20,000-25,000 words that I write in the fall, I can call my first manuscript draft officially done!
8. Visit 5 new bookstores (visited 1 new bookstore in Q1 with 2 planned for Q2, progress at 20%): ON TRACK
This year I’m dedicated to supporting independent bookstores, and last month I featured Recycle Bookstore, located where I live in San Jose, Calif. It was fun interviewing the owner, Eric Johnson, and meeting the store’s feline mascot Emma, so if you’re in the neighborhood, be sure to visit! Next month I’ll be traveling to Greece and Italy for the first time, so you bet I’m going to explore a bookstore in each country!
9. Brush up on my Latin (not yet started, progress at 0%): REALLY BEHIND
Honestly, I can’t seem to muster much enthusiasm for this goal. I can understand my intention of going through my old Latin textbooks from college, so I have a better understanding of any writing I see in the classical ruins in Italy, but I know that’s not a requirement to enjoying the historical landmarks. If I get around to it, fantastic, but this goal is just icing on the cake for me now.
Not to mention, if there’s any Latin still remaining, it will probably be Roman graffiti, which is often too profane for your typical Latin grammar lessons. Of course, the vulgar stuff is the most fun to learn, which is why I can still quote Catullus: “Moecha putida, redde codicillos, redde, putida moecha, codicillos!” (“Dirty whore, give back my tablets, give me back, dirty whore, the tablets!” to you non-Latin scholars out there. I did a whole presentation on this poem, in case you’re wondering. The classics program at UC Santa Cruz is AWESOME.)
10. Learn conversational Greek and Italian (32% fluent in Italian according to Duolingo, 0% fluent in Greek): REALLY BEHIND
Refreshing my Latin may not be a big deal, given that no one but those in the Vatican still speak it today, but there’s no excuse not to pick up a bit of the modern languages of the places I’ll be visiting. I’ve been studying Italian through the free app Duolingo, which is fun, but not exactly the most practical. I think that I learned the names of animals before I learned how to state my own name! And Duolingo doesn’t have lessons in Greek, so this month I’ll need to create a list of common phrases in both languages, so at the very least, I can order in a restaurant and locate the nearest restroom.
TOTAL Q1 PROGRESS: On track or ahead on 5 goals; Behind on 5 goals (50% success rate!)
All in all, I’m not doing too shabby with my 2016 goals, but there’s a lot of room for improvement. I’m keeping up with reading and blogging, and now I need to pick up the slack on writing and language-learning. Stay tuned for my Q2 progress report in the beginning of July!