Reading & Writing Goals: 2021

Discussion questions: What are your literary goals for this new year? Whether tangible or intangible, let us know what you’re hoping to accomplish and how. And if you don’t have any–which I considered for myself–I want to hear about that, too. Let’s chat about 2021 in the comments below. 


Another year, another post where I nag you to tell me what you hope to accomplish in the new year. What are your goals as a writer? What are your goals as a reader?

I hit pretty much zero of my goals last year; thankfully that’s no longer relevant. Onward from 2020!

Here’s mine, to keep me honest:


1) Read more than I did in 2020

It’s not just about numbers, but I read fewer books last year than I ever have as an adult. Books kept coming in, books that had my attention before they even arrived, but I banished most of them straight to the shelf and never returned.

I did read almost every issue of the New York Review of Books, my favorite publication. And that’s always fulfilling.

And now that I think about it, I read thousands and thousands (and thousands) of pages of new writing from my wonderful WriteByNighters (you know who you are). Which is far more satisfying than reading a book off the shelf.

So, scratch this one.


2) Write more than I did in 2020

I also wrote less than I have in any year going back a long, long time. My novel went almost nowhere, I didn’t finish any of the short stories I’d started in 2019, my nonfiction book is caked in dust, and I started nothing new.

Then again, I wrote dozens of blog posts and hundreds of (or more?) comments in our ensuing discussions, along with no doubt thousands of emails talking books and writing with you lovely WriteByNighters.

Y’all are saving me!

So, scratch this one, too. I’ve got no complaints, and it took writing this post for me to get there.


3) Improve as a writer

This is all we can ever really hope for, right? To get a little bit better every single year?

I don’t have any measurement for this. I’ll know it if I see it.

I hope I see it.

And I hope you see it in yourself!


david blogWriteByNight co-founder David Duhr is fiction editor at the Texas Observer and co-host of the Yak Babies podcast, and has written about books for the Dallas Morning News, Electric Literature, Publishing Perspectives, and others.

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