The new year has begun and with it an examination of the events of the last year, a feeling of relief, and a chance for a fresh start.

As always, there are debates about whether New Year’s Resolutions are worth the trouble. I can see both sides, particularly since the majority of resolutions only last a few days or weeks. When the resolutions fall to the wayside, they’re replaced by feelings of failure.


Headphones on book

There are many excellent alternatives to New Year’s Resolutions. Tim Ferriss‘ Past Year Review for instance. It’s a simple guide to assess what worked in the previous year, what didn’t, and how to go from there. For me, I’m going to listen less to the news, which left me feeling anxious, and listen to more books on tape (I’m hooked on listening again to Jim Dale narrate Harry Potter) and podcasts (I’m looking for podcast suggestions — please send me your favorites!).



Screen shot of Your Theme YouTube videoAnother alternative is highlighted in the YouTube video “Your Theme” (thanks to Tim Storm who mentioned it in his newsletter). You to pick a theme for the year instead of resolving to do specific things. Instead of “I’m going to lose x amount of pounds per month,” it’s “2021 will be the Year of Good Health.” Eating healthy meals, exercising, getting enough sleep all fit into that theme and leave you open to discovering all sorts of things about healthy living. The Year of Writing will be my theme for 2021.


Glasses on top of my booksLast year ended up being the Year of Pampering Me. I had intended it to be the Year of Writing. I’d even pulled back from my volunteer obligations to devote my time to writing. But with everything going on, my creativity took a hit. Writing didn’t seem to matter much in the scheme of things. So, instead of writing, I pampered myself. I filled my time with reading good books, playing board games with my kids (see my list of best books and games of 2020), taking naps, going for long walks, and binge-watching movies and TV shows.


So what about this year? How will I turn it into the Year of Writing? Okay, I’ll admit it, I’ve made some resolutions and have started to act on them. So, far, on day four of 2021, I’m doing pretty good.

This past weekend, I kicked off my year of writing by implementing my newly designed 2x2x2 Daily Writing Method. Two hours of working on my WIP, two hours of marketing (more on that in future newsletters), two hours of reading every day. I heard somewhere that if you do something every day for 21 days then it becomes a habit. I’m going to give it a month. At the end of January, I’ll see if this plan makes sense for me. If not, that’s okay. I’ll have learned something about myself and my habits. I’ll revise and try a new plan for February. I’m looking forward to seeing where this Year of Writing will take me.


The number 2021 in sparkles


How about you? Any New Year’s Resolutions or plans to make 2021 a theme year? Let me know, I’d love to hear from you!


What I’m reading:

Cover of Utopia Avenue

Utopia Avenue by David Mitchell – this book about a British band in the 1960s is so well-crafted (typical of Mitchell) that I’m looking forward to re-reading it and taking notes as I do. Even if you’re not a writer, I highly recommend it! And if you’re a musician, you’ll appreciate it even more than I do.



Creating Character Arcs cover

Creating Character Arcs by K.M. Weiland (I’m hooked on her terrific newsletter, too) and Story Genius by Lisa Cron. Both excellent non-fiction books on the craft of writing.



For Homeschoolers:

Caitlin, Jessica, and Kristin in the woods in late fall

Be sure to check out my new blog: Seize the Day – Homeschool! The latest edition features my article published in Home Education Magazine titled “Great Moments in Homeschooling.”




Kristin Oakley's headshot


Hello! I'm award-winning thriller writer, Kristin A. Oakley. Sign up for my newsletter and I will send you the prequel to The Devil Particle Series.

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