23 December

#BlinkBlog: Goals For 2019

As 2018 comes to a close and we approach a new year, we asked some of our #Blink authors to share their goals and advice for 2019. Read their answers below!

What are your goals—not resolutions—for the New Year?

Alison Gervais: This is a really tough question. I’ve never been good at sticking to goals, let alone creating them. But I’d like to gain more confidence in myself and my writing, stay on top of my mental health, and be as supportive as possible during this first year of my husband’s enlistment in the military.

Annie Sullivan: My goals for the new year are to spend more time writing and reading, which might sound obvious, but my schedule has been so busy that I haven’t had as much time as I’ve wanted to sit back and do those things. I also just want to live in the moment more and enjoy everything as it comes.

Christina June: Keep writing.  Write for me. Connect with more readers, librarians, teachers and booksellers.  Listen and learn. Lift up marginalized voices in the kidlit community.

CJ Lyons: 2019 is my year to take my craft of writing to the next level. I will be exploring new techniques and am already signed up to both teach and take master classes (I learn as much when I teach as I do as a student—and I can *always* learn more!)

Heather Hepler: I want to spend more time with family and friends and less working. I want to laugh more. And I definitely want to figure out a way to travel somewhere again for an extended time. I spent last winter in Mexico and it was one of the hardest, but best things I’ve ever done.

Laurie Boyle Crompton: I have a few book projects I’m excited to spend some time working on and I’m THRILLED for the release of PRETTY IN PUNXSUTAWNEY Jan 15th so that’s a goal achieved! I’m also trying to be more intentional with my screen-time. Watching movies and conducting research is far more productive than scrolling mindlessly through social media. Less scrolling equals more time to write!

Maureen McQueery: So many both personal and professional. Number one is to truly see the people around me and remember that I have never “met a mere mortal.”

More travel! Hiking in the Dolomites, exploring the village my family came from in Ireland.

Always to improve my craft. I want to get better at writing subtext.And I have another story or two I would like to slip into the world. We’ll see what happens!

McCall Hoyle: My goal for 2019 is to be grateful, to revive the habit of writing daily in a gratitude journal, and to focus on all the simple little joys and blessings I have a tendency to overlook when my life becomes overly booked.

Stephanie Morrill: One of my goals is to be a better fan. I have lots of books and podcasts and products that I love … but I’m not great about sharing them or leaving reviews. In 2019, I want to take some intentional steps to more vocally support what I love.

How would you encourage Blink readers to help others in the New Year?

Alison Gervais: I think one great way to help others is to first help yourself. It’s easy to lose sight of yourself and your needs when the only thing you focus on is everything else around you. You matter, you’re important, so take care of yourself, and you’ll be better able to help others when it matters most.

Annie Sullivan: Be kind. It takes nothing to be kind to one another. Reach out to people, especially someone who has been isolating themselves recently. Take the time to really check in on one another and reconnect outside of social media.

Christina June: I would encourage readers to do what I’m doing.  Listen and learn. Lift up marginalized voices in the kidlit community.  Look for ways, even small ones, you can use your privilege to make someone else’s life better.  I love those memes that say “Equal rights for all does not mean less rights for you. It’s not pie.”  We all have the power to ensure other feel heard, seen, and welcomed.

CJ Lyons: Take a moment to sit down, turn your phone off, and think about what you are truly grateful for at the deepest level—more than your circumstances, but for the entire community. Then stand up and do something, whether donating money, time, or just spreading word of mouth, to help everyone share in that gratitude.

If you’re thankful for your health, reach out and help kids suffering via Unicef or learn more about Doctors Without Borders and their work. Maybe your family has survived a disaster like the recent fires in California—how can you help others be better prepared, while also helping yourself? Check out the Red Cross courses or your local Community Emergency Response Team (both offer free training).

Or maybe you’re passionate about the environment or social justice or some other cause that has given you the chance at a life that others around the world (or even in our own country) can only dream about. How can you make a difference?

It might be as simple as supporting an author whose books have changed your life, inspired or empowered you to see the world differently. Buy an extra copy and donate to your local library or share it with a friend.

Your five minutes of gratitude might open the door to a world of change!

Heather Hepler: Sometimes I think we try to hard, thinking it has to be a big plan with lots of moving parts, but I think helping others is in the smaller moments. It’s saying hello and smiling. It’s complimenting someone. It’s really looking at someone when they are talking as if he or she is the more important person in the world.

Laurie Boyle Crompton: I think the best way we can all help others is to just really pay attention to those around us and watch for opportunities to show we care. Oftentimes that just means listening to someone who is feeling frustrated or upset and then letting them know you hear them. There are lots of ways to help out with volunteering of course, but sometimes people just need to feel seen.

Maureen McQueery: Be kind. Help when you can. Point people to wonder. It is truly all around them even in the darkest places. I love this quote from Pilgrim at Tinker Creek by Annie Dillard:

“The world is fairly studded and strewn with pennies cast broadside by a generous hand. But- and this is the point- who gets excited by a mere penny? But if you cultivate a healthy poverty and simplicity, so that finding a penny will literally make your day, then, since the world is in fact planted in pennies, you have with your poverty bought a lifetime of days.”

McCall Hoyle: I think each and every one of us has special gifts and talents and believe that one of the greatest gifts we can give to others is the sharing of those gifts and talents. I would encourage Blink readers to do some soul searching and brainstorm some creative ideas for sharing those gifts with the world. I think I have the ability to inspire others to reach for the stars and a calling to teach others how to read and write. My plan for 2019 is to use those gifts to lift up and inspire the teenagers I teach in public high school and the women I teach in prison.

Stephanie Morrill: I’m learning that helping others sometimes means being uncomfortable. It means not asking a friend IF I can bring her a meal, but asking her WHEN I can bring her a meal. It means not just speaking out about an issue on social media, but also giving my time and dollars to bring a solution. My encouragement to others is to find one small step you can take towards being a little more helpful/generous/empathetic, and take that step.