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Wednesday Weekly Blogging Challenge 2021-01-06

Long and Short Reviews has issued a weekly challenge prompt for bookish bloggers to be completed on Wednesday every week in 2021. I actually found out about this one late in 2020, but the final Wednesday of December was left off the prompt list and that’s where I was going to have the space to slot it in, so I’m trying this challenge for the first time with the first prompt of a new year. Kind of fitting, hey? Find out what Long and Short Reviews said for today’s topic.

This week’s topic is…

My Goals for 2021

Reading/Reviewing (General): I learned a lot by jumping into the review and tour game feet first in the middle of last year, and I’ve come to a few conclusions. This year I need to be more selective of what I choose to review, what I volunteer to promote in a different way, and what I decline completely. When agreeing to review (or signing up for a review tour) I need to pick a date and put it in my schedule just like any other set and scheduled blog post, regardless of whether I’m accepting an unsolicited review request, got approved for an ARC on places like NetGalley, or I’m signing up for a review spot on a tour. That needs to go in my schedule spreadsheet as if its already written in stone, even if it isn’t yet, so I stop accidentally overbooking my reading time. October to December 2020 ended up with some insane stretches of 4+ novels to review in the same week. I didn’t have chances to get ahead. I didn’t have chances to pick up books that weren’t in my schedule. January and February already look that crazy, but as of March that will finally change because I’m implementing this new rule for myself. Books to review get scheduled as soon as they appear on my radar. Any week with more than 2 reviews had better be full of kid lit, short stories, audiobooks, and overdue reviews that I previously shared on Goodreads.

I’ve also said in my review policy since I launched this blog that sending me a physical copy of a book to review will boost priority. October to December were (and now January and February will still be) too busy to live up to that promise. Starting in March that will be true, and I’ve got a couple of physical review copies sitting next to my spot on the couch now waiting for times when I actually can switch to a book not on my busy schedule in the meantime. Starting in April when things really calm down I want to allow myself to pick up those 2020 release titles I purchased for myself and haven’t had a chance to read yet.

I also want to block out time to do re-reads of old favourites I haven’t formally reviewed yet. I’ve slotted in a reminder at the top of April that I want to revisit and review the entire Earthsea Cycle that month, so keep your eyes open for that!

Blog Tours, Misc.: Besides being more selective with which titles I volunteer to review and being diligent to write down the dates I volunteer for, I want to make an effort to volunteer for guest posts and interviews more often, and I want to establish my own go-to list of interview questions and suggested guest post topics. Some of the companies I do tours with arrange every detail of those sorts of posts, while others want that provided up front or come back looking for that info after tour dates are confirmed, and I often find myself going “oh gosh, well ‘author’s choice’ is fine but if they need a prompt I’d love to hear about…’ or something like that. I gave almost every paranormal author the same prompt last year. Eventually I’m going to get frequent flyers who need different prompts! (I’m absolutely open to suggestions in the comments! Drop your favourite questions and prompts!)

This Blog/Site: I want this site to start working for me. I want some of my posts in 2021 to be sponsored. I want my affiliate links to start generating enough commission sales to actually payout. I want people interested in my art to actually purchase from my various print on demand store fronts (which I need to update with newer work) or better yet, commission me.

More importantly, I want some of the authors (aspiring or otherwise) who visit to notice that I offer editing and manuscript critique services and perhaps hire me.

Writing & Publishing: I’m holding myself accountable to get at least one of my planned children’s books ready to query this year, and one adult novel that I’d actually like to query completely drafted. (I specify one that I’d actually like to query because good old Tobias and Søren insist on occupying my creative thoughts even though I will never publish their story and I’ve been telling them that since Tobias first showed up in my notebooks around 9th grade…)

For the children’s book this goal means written, beta read, proofread by a fresh set of eyes, illustrated, and thrown together in a visually pleasing manner for sending out on queries. It’ll probably be the first in a series of stories about a local cat who has adventures at various local tourist sites.

For the adult book, this goal just means beginning to end drafted. It’s allowed to suck. It’s allowed to be nowhere near ready for anything other than self-edits. It doesn’t have to be my big SFF babies that I’ve had outlined and stewing for while. It can be something I’m less attached to. In fact, it should be something I’m less attached to. It’s allowed to be something that gets shelved in the future. The point is that this year I will finally actually finish an adult level novel that is of an appropriate length for its genre.

YouTube: I want to batch film book videos again so I’m not scrambling to film and edit a 20+ minute book video every weekend. I want to record my art videos are far in advance as possible. I want to get at least one art collaboration in every month aside from the monthly Art Addicts Alliance group upload, and I specifically want to look for new collaborators. I want at least two of my art uploads every month to be either illustration work (my own or commissioned) or spontaneous projects that don’t fulfil a quick-turnout challenge and actually take more than one sitting to complete. If we assume an average of 4 weeks a month for at least 8 art videos, 1 is #ColorsoftheMonth, 1 is Art Addicts Alliance, 1 is a collaboration, and 5+ others can be anything else. 2 of those 5+ others have to be illustration work or a long project.

Because of this, no more than 2 of those 5+ others can be my pokémon mash-up challenge. That still allows for as many as 24 new pokémon mashups this year, and that doesn’t preclude me from choosing pokémon as my subject for other projects, but never again will I open a pack of pokémon cards (or consult a pokedex randomizer) as my quick art prompt 3+ times in the same month. If I do, one of those had better be being pre-filmed for a rainy day. Why? The series is well-loved by my diehard fans but really doesn’t do well compared to my channel average, I feel like it’s usually a throw-away quick idea that I lean on when I’m out of time or ideas and just need a video, and lately I don’t particularly like half the mashups I created which makes me regret the materials I used to do it. Maybe getting more practised with digital and figuring out why OBS and this computer don’t like to cooperate for more than 30 seconds would aleviate that last concern, but at this early point in 2021 I don’t have room in my goals to worry about that.

Life Offline: I am requiring myself to get a minimum of 30 minutes of exercise in at least 5 days a week. I have promised myself that I’ll take much better care of my teeth this year and going forward. Once the Christmas treats are gone I want to resist buying sweets as much as possible.

Once the Covid situation starts getting a lot better and we’re allowed to be less cautious about gatherings, I’m going to push myself to be a squeakier wheel among my friends. No more making plans to make plans and then waiting for the other person to call or text, secretly relieved in my introvert way when plans never happen and I get to stay home, because gosh darn it this introvert has been left a little too alone. I love my online friends and I’ve made a lot of new ones this year, but when you live 4.5 timezones away from your family and high school friends and the only people you automatically see in person without much planning effort are all related to or old friends of your spouse, you start to feel like you don’t actually have any friends of your own. It’s not true, but it feels that way. I want a coffee date with someone who didn’t meet my husband’s high school sweetheart and isn’t in bed with one of my brothers in law! When Covid restrictions start to become a thing of the past, which I sincerely hope will come before this year ends, I’m going to start making that happen, no matter how much my inner introvert hisses in protest.

What about you? What are your plans for 2021?

Jenna is the artist/illustrator and author behind Westveil Publishing and its sub-banner platforms Jenna Gets Creative and The Westveil Archives. She live in Newfoundland, Canada with her husband, daughter, and feline overlords.

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