2011 Reading and Writing Goals

While on my afternoon break at the office Wednesday, I was scanning through my Google ReaderOpens in a new tab. feeds when I came across a blog post from New To Writing GirlOpens in a new tab.. The post outlined some of her goals for the new year. After leaving a comment and reading the response, I thought it would be a good idea to come up with a short list of my own.

I could write pages upon pages of things that I would like to accomplish this year, but I am going to focus on Reading and Writing, as they most relate to this blog.


Reading is one of my favorite hobbies. As a child, I used to read regularly. As I grew older, got my first job, developed a busy social life, I read less and less. It wasn’t until after I got married and started spending more time at home that I got back into it. Using this blog as a reference, I was able to look back and get an idea what how frequently I was reading. In 2009 I read twenty-four books. The following year, in 2010, I managed to read fourteen.

When my daughter was born, I found that many of the hobbies that I enjoyed doing were pushed off. Spending time with my daughter took priority and I had less desire to read. As she gets a bit older and becomes more independent, I’m finding myself with bits and pieces of time. The desire to begin reading again washed over me and I have decided to make use of those random bits of time by placing my nose into a book.

My goal for 2011 is to read no less than twelve books. This allows me one month per book, which seems very attainable, even for fat epic fantasy novels. In addition to my twelve book goal, I want to mix up authors. While I enjoy reading a series straight through, I find it difficult to get into a novel by a different author after having spent weeks or months reading a single style of writing.

Flash Fiction

Last year I decided to take a break from my normal writing style and write some fiction. I enjoyed it and the reader response was good. Like any new hobby, I started researching to see if there was an online community to learn from. I stumbled on to Fiction Friday from Write AnythingOpens in a new tab.. Each week a prompt was posted and participants were asked to use that prompt in a piece of writing. I gave it a try and enjoyed myself, participating as often as possible.

I developed a rhythm and was able to quickly generate story ideas shortly after looking at the prompt. Some stories were better than others, but I wrote often and felt as though my writing improved each week. After a long absence, I decided to head over to Write Anything and take a look at the prompts. I started at the screen for minutes and the only thought that came to mind was the sounds of crickets chirping in the distance.

Flash Fiction was something that I enjoyed a great deal. I want to get back into doing it again this year. My unproductive look at the prompts showed me that I am going to have a hurdle to get over. Once the initial piece is written, I fully expect some sort of rhythm to return and things to get easier.

I haven’t the slightest idea how often I want to participate, or how frequently I’ll even be able to. What I do know is that I have every intention of getting back into the swing of creative writing.


I absolutely hate the idea of a stagnant blog. It is bad for traffic and it is bad for my blogging morale. Like with other hobbies, having a child rearranges your priorities, no matter how much you think they will remain the same. I want to keep a pace of two to three blog posts per week. I think this goal is achievable and shouldn’t leave me scratching my head waiting for an idea to strike me.

In addition to blogging here, I also realize that my writing on Stogie ReviewOpens in a new tab. has been reduced dramatically. I hope to remedy that as well, even if it is only an extra blog post or two per week.


Hi There, My name is Walt White and as the name of this blog suggests, I am a Pennsylvania resident. In addition to having numerous hobbies that I discuss on my blog - I’m also the father of three little girls and a pitbull.

2 thoughts on “2011 Reading and Writing Goals

  1. I’m glad you took the time to get these down. I always do better when I have goals written down. Even though I’ve not finalised mine yet, I know roughly what they are and so am kind of going off this.

    I’m glad you’re going to get back into the Flash Fiction – I’m looking forward to reading your entries. Any chance of a MOA revival?

    I’ve been thinking about authors/books to recommend to you. I’ve just finished reading a Ben Elton book (do you know him? He’s a British comedian/author) so can’t get him out my head. Breakdown (that I read) wasn’t the best he’s written, so I’m thinking This Other Eden. Not sure how easy it would be to get hold of as it’s quite old… but take a look and see what you think!

    1. I have nothing for this weeks Fiction Friday, but I have something in mind for next week. I just spent the last several minutes roughing out the dialog. I was having difficulty with the opening and action between the dialog, but given a week I should be able to work it all out in time.

      I need to invest more time in MOA. The problem I ran into with NaNoWriMo is that I only had the killing part worked out. I need to take another look at the plot and see if I can make it into something more. I found it a bit lacking as I read back over it.

      I haven’t heard of Ben Elton but I did look into tracking down This Other Eden. I wasn’t able to find it on Paperback Swap, but I can order it from the Book Depository for something like $11.00. With free international shipping, I think going that route is the cheapest and easiest way of getting the book.

      The book I had in mind for you is Assassin’s Apprentice by Robin Hobb (I think I mentioned it to you before). While it is the first book in a three book series, it is only 500 pages or so. The end isn’t too much of a cliff-hanger, so you can easily refrain from reading the rest of the series if it isn’t your style.

      The story begins by following a young boy that is turned over to his father (who wasn’t aware he had a son). As the boy grows up, he develops some interesting relationships. There is also a love interest that he struggles to understand. This is a fantasy novel but it doesn’t have the variety of races that you would find in something like Lord of the Rings.

      It is one of my favorite fantasy novels, so I’m looking forward to hearing what you think of it.

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