I once wrote about how we’ve grown accustomed to thinking highly of beginnings and endings. I particularly cited the new year as an example. And yet, despite knowing that the new year is an arbitrary concept imposed by people, which is a consequence of an equally arbitrary, man-made measurement of time, I still find myself delighting in the prospect of being given an opportunity to grow into a better version of myself.
But I digress.
The goal for 2017
Last year, I set my Goodreads reading challenge to 69 books. After twelve months, the result is as follows:
For 2017, I am lowering my reading goal to just 30 books. The downscale is quite significant as this number is less than half of last year’s reading challenge. I guess with 2017 being my second year of book blogging, it would make sense for me to read more books, instead of less. However, as each day passes by, I see myself more and more as a blogger. And less of a book blogger. This is equal parts thrilling and terrifying for me. I am incredibly excited and look forward to wherever my experiences lead me in the blogging world. That is not to say that I plan to eventually stop talking about books altogether. (I mean, my blog is named That Bookshelf Bitch, and I’ve already fallen in love with my blog logo.) I can’t imagine myself doing that at all. It’d be easier for me to picture myself biting my arm off rather than shutting myself up about books.
The main reason I’ve chosen to read a significantly fewer number of books is because I don’t want 2017 to be a year of books. I want 2017 to be a year of writing. My writing, to be more specific.
I’m not saying that I intend to write an original novel or anything. I don’t think I’m ready for that. But it would be nice to be able to translate my thoughts and musings into actual sentences more frequently. It would be nice to be able to write more poetry. It would be nice to be able to write quality discussion posts under less time. And it would be incredibly wonderful to learn how to let the words flow more easily from my mind to my fingertips.
The steps I will take (and hopefully stick to)
 Keep a diary and write in it daily. I have never successfully kept a diary or a journal in my entire life. Be it one where I write every day or one where I only scribble occasionally. I’m hoping 2017 will be an entirely different case. For my 2017 diary, I’ll be publishing entries on a separate, private blog. As for the content, I don’t plan on reiterating what I did for that particular day. That’s sort of like monitoring my activities, which I find to be extremely tedious. Instead, I’m going to write whatever feels significant or timely — things I want to remember, things I’ve discovered about myself, lessons I’ve learned, what I felt, what inspired me, a short story I’d like to keep telling, a sentence or two summarizing what I felt throughout the day.
(I’ve thought about keeping a bullet journal instead. A part of me really wanted to, but as one of my personal resolutions is to develop better time management skills, I don’t think I’m quite ready for that.)
 Write at least one poem a week.
 Immerse myself in different forms of poetry — both oral and written. Specifically, read more poetry collections and learn more about spoken word poetry. I’ve only recently developed an addiction to spoken word! Everything about it is so raw and powerful and engaging. I also want to explore themes that transcend common topics such as love and heartbreak. I want to read literary pieces that delve into feminism, abuse, sexuality, oppression, and elitism (social class divide). I want to read poems that are for the oppressed and marginalized, and I want to read poems that are written by the oppressed and marginalized. (More on this later!)
 Write at least one discussion post (i.e. ‘Shealea says’) per month.
 Read more books about diversity and/or feature diversity. Not explicitly writing-related, but just as important nonetheless.
The recommendations I’m looking for
Clearly, I have to start somewhere! What better way to do that than to ask for your help and for your opinions, right?
 Diverse reads. I mean, I know of CW’s extensive diversity corner and Aimal’s Diversity Spotlight Thursday feature — both of which have been exceedingly helpful in promoting books with diversity (so do check them out!). But hey, a few more recommendations wouldn’t hurt, right? Can’t have too much diversity, fam.
 Poetry books and collections. Yep, yep. Still trying to make my way as a hilariously mediocre poet. I’m hoping to expose myself to poems that tackle the following themes and topics:
– marginalization and oppression
– pain, abuse, sexual assault, rape
– love and heartbreak completely different from Lang Leav’s skewed portrayal of aforementioned topics
– mental illnesses
 Spoken word poetry. Give me names of poets, give me links, and just give me, give me, give me. Not looking for anything in particular. I just want to keep learning.
 2017 releases to look forward to. I was recently asked to name a few upcoming titles I’m excited about, and I drew a complete blank! I know. What a terrible thing of me to do. I really need to step up my game.
If anything comes to mind, don’t hesitate to let me know! Any help would be greatly appreciated. While you’re at it, tell me about your resolutions! What are you up to? What are you planning for the year? I’m genuinely interested.
Happy New Year, everyone! Cheers!