2019 Goals - Personal

My 2019 Goals

Last year, I only shared my blogging-specific goals with all of you (and again this year!).  For 2019, I figured adding my personal (or at least non-blogging) 2019 goals might be a nice addition–at the very least, I’ll gain some much-needed accountability!

A lot of these are writing-related, as that’s becoming an increasingly important part of my life. But, that’s not all that’s ahead for the year!

Send 500 pieces in lit mag submissions

Despite starting on my first ever poetry submissions quite a few months into 2018, I surpassed 200 submissions (counting individual poems, not each magazine).  So, 500 for 2019 shouldn’t be an issue at all!  In fact, I’ve got nearly 150 submitted already, thanks to being on bedrest with the flu for nearly a week!

While I’d love to set a goal for acceptances, I can’t really control the editors’ decisions.  So, I’ll just hope for the best on that front!  However, I’m also half-heartedly trying the 100 rejections challenge, too.  While I’m in no way going to be disappointed if I don’t reach 100 rejection letters, it’s already helping me to see them as less of a negative force!

Launch Nightingale and Sparrow‘s first issues

I recently launched an online literary magazine, Nightingale & Sparrow.  I’m hoping to release four issues a year! We’re currently accepting submissions for Issue No. I, flight, due in mid-February. I’d love to feature some of my wonderful blog friends who happen to be literary or photographically inclined, so please feel free to submit!

Read 100 books

Near the end of 2018, I decided to up my 2018 Goodreads Reading Challenge from 40 books to 50.  I’d been reading in excess, so it seemed like an easy win!  Fast forward to December and a handful of recurring migraines left me absurdly behind.  But I powered through and read some fantastic books, exceeding my goal of 50!

So, I’m hoping to read 100 books this year.  Without schoolwork (and required readings) bogging me down, I think it might be doable!  Migraines have already gotten in the way of my first few days of reading, I’m hopeful that they’ll let up going forward! I’ve already gotten some book reviews lined up for Pencils & Pages, my new book blog, so I’ve got to get going one way or another!

Complete 35 items on my 101 in 1,001 list

While I’ve been periodically updating my 101 in 1,001 list, I haven’t made anywhere near the progress I need to if I’d like to complete even a majority of the items by its end date.  So, I’m hoping 2019 is a big year for progress!

Finish my next two poetry manuscripts

While I’m not sure I’ll actually publish my next poetry books this year (I’m considering going for a more traditional publishing route with these), I’d like to at least get a final draft of the manuscript put together.  I’ve got a majority of the actual material ready to go, so it’s just a matter of arranging and putting the finishing touches on the real documents.

These will be Centre Stage and “How My Cat Saved My Life” and Other Poems, if you’re interested in learning more!

Draft The Affair

While NaNoWriMo 2018 didn’t go in my favour (thank you, migraines), I’m still pretty excited about the novel I started last November.  So, I’m hoping to continue and hopefully finish that first draft in 2019! It’s bound to be messy and far from ready to go, but I’m determined to get this first draft done.

Pay off at least three credit cards

Between being a poor college student and having a multitude of health issues, I have more debt than I’d like. Despite my absurdly low income, I’m determined to work hard to get at least three cards paid off! This is hardly a total solution and it doesn’t even touch the chaos that is student loans, but every little bit counts!

Earn income from the blog

Of course, this dives into some of my blogging goals for the year, but I’m planning on 2019 being the year that I start earning a semi-regular income from For the Sake of Good Taste. Between our planned product launches, (hopefully) some sponsored posts, and affiliate income, my hopes are high! As my blogging skills improve over time (I’m constantly amazed at how far the site has come since its launch!), I’m confident that things can only move forward.

Organise my life

The KonMari method may be having a resurgence of popularity thanks to Marie Kondo’s new Netflix series, but I’ve been utilising her concepts for years now. I’ve worked through her book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, in little bits since I first picked it up, but I’m planning to make it through the entire process as intended this year. I’m working on clothes currently!

Build my emergency fund

In paying down debt and increasing my income, I’m hoping that I can get better at saving! I’m using a lot of Dave Ramsey methodology, so I’m starting with a goal of $1,000.  From there, I’d like to get a minimum of six months’ expenses saved, eventually!

What are your 2019 goals?

2019 Goals - Personal

Life Update - Where to Now

Life Update: Where to Now?

As you may have seen on Instagram, I recently graduated from college. Since so much of my blogging journey has centred on being a “college blogger,” a life update (and blog update!) seems to be in order.

First of all, the life update, a bit of what’s next for me, personally and professionally, outside of For the Sake of Good Taste:

If you were following along on Twitter or our other social media challenge, you already know that I was applying to several grad schools back in the UK.  In the end, I only applied to my top choice, Bath Spa University (if you’ve read our Traveller’s Guide to Bath or have seen my references to my study abroad programme in the city, you’ll understand).

I did, in fact, receive an offer to enroll in their Creative Writing masters programme this fall, but, after hours of consideration, I’ve decided to decline.

While I won’t be getting my masters right now, I fully intend to keep writing in the meantime!  I’m currently working on a second and third chapbook (have you got your copy of Mistakes Were Made yet? Be sure to check it out before the next two are released!), as well as a novel and biography.  I’ve been regularly submitting poems to literary magazines as well, so stay tuned for updates on potential publications!

I’ll also continue to take on freelance writing and editing projects! Check out my writing website if you’re interested in these services.

I’ve also taken on a job as a transcriptionist, which has proven to be pretty amazing. It’s entirely remote, the hours are flexible, and the pay is excellent.  I can’t complain!

So, what does all of this mean for the blog?

Have no fear:  you’ll see little to no major changes to the blog as I start my postgrad life.  I’ve been transitioning the site from “college blog” to “lifestyle blog” since we first moved to For the Sake of Good Taste, so any remaining transition should be painless.

What this does mean, though, is that I have the flexibility to blog regularly once again.  Despite a plethora of unrelated projects, blogging is a priority once more! From new content to exciting collaborations, I have lots planned for the coming months, so keep an eye out and make sure you’ve signed up for our mailing list for updates.

As always, thank you all for following along and for supporting For the Sake of Good Taste!  I’m eternally grateful for our amazing readers and followers.

Is there something you want to see on the “new and improved” blog? Let us know in the comments or on social media!

Life Update -  Where to Now

How I Published a Poetry Chapbook

How I Published A Poetry Chapbook

As you may or may not know, I recently published a poetry chapbook, Mistakes Were Made*.  If you follow along on Twitter, you know I was pretty darn excited.  After quite a few requests, I’m taking you behind the scenes of creating the collection and how I published my first book (after lots of Googling “how to publish poetry”).

This post may contain affiliate links.  Please see our disclosure for more information!

(For those who don’t know, a chapbook is, in it’s most basic sense, a tiny book.  You can read more here!)

First, a confession:  I’ve never been a fan of self-publishing, for an array of reasons.  But, for this project, Amazon CreateSpace was ideal!  I’m not trying to pay off college or become the next Ezra Pound with Mistakes Were Made*;  this was entirely for me.  Publishing a chapbook was a chance for me to accomplish something, however small, in the field I’ve fallen in love with.  This was a way to share some of my writing, which I’ve done surprisingly little when it comes to my personal stuff.  The process was cathartic, to say the least.

I’ve written poems for what seems like forever.  I stopped almost entirely between finishing high school and heading off to college, focusing on prose and journalistic pieces.  Then, late freshman year, a friend of mine, a fellow writer, asked about my taste in poetry.

“I love to read it, but I don’t write it much.”  I went on to list some of my favourite poets.  In my mind? “I’m not as good at poetry as I am at ‘normal’ writing.  I’ll stick to that.”

Not long after, I read that same friend’s poems (while you go pick up Mistakes Were Made*, grab The Stick Soldiers* and thank Hugh for meand remembered why I loved it so much.  So, I started writing again.  I revamped some old pieces and wrote some new ones.

Almost exclusively, I found myself writing about mistakes—the Poe fan in me has always stuck to the Gothic when possible. Friends turned their lives upside-down as I watched.  I liked guys I shouldn’t have.  People did things that were utterly stupid.  And it all fueled my writing.

Until recently, I kept these exclusively to myself.  Despite being told otherwise, I wasn’t confident in them.  Some of them were really personal.  Some of them were pretty obviously about certain people.

Then, only a few short weeks ago, I sat down to transfer some pieces from the notes of my phone to my writing notebook and stopped.  I wondered, “Why not publish some of these?”  I have so, so many, and they’re not doing much of anything locked away in this notebook.  In a brief surge of confidence, I did some Googling (“how to publish poetry?”) and came across CreateSpace.

The site had stellar reviews and, most importantly for me (being a poor college student is fun!), consists of completely free software.  So, I went for it.

After years of writing poems (literally) behind locked doors, I typed them up and created my very first manuscript.  I got in touch with some writing friends and shared my excitement and got a few of them to look over the final drafts.  I got a free trial of Photoshop specifically to work out the cover image that was taking over my brain.  Then, I submitted the finished product.

Within a day, CreateSpace had approved my file, and the book was almost immediately ready to be ordered.  I shared it all over social media (again, going completely out of my comfort zone!) and got an incredible response.

Friends and family from all over sent me screenshots of their Amazon tracking page, telling me how excited they were to get their copy and requesting I sign it (which led to another Google trail:  how do you sign a book like a real author?).  I couldn’t believe that so many of my loved ones were so quick to jump on board with my fledgeling writing career.

I’ve had my share of doubtful moments.  It’s not a real book.  It’s self-published, it doesn’t really count. What if people get it and don’t like it?  And through it all, I’ve had the most supportive people behind me saying “No, it’s great! I’m proud of you!”  The book may be about mistakes, but it proves that the people I’ve surrounded myself with are anything but.

That same friend who asked me about poetry way back when once asked me what the people back home would say if I told them “I’m a poet.”  I laughed at the absurdity of it all.  And yet, here I am today:

“I’m a poet.” 

If you’re interested, you can get your own copy in paperback or Kindle here* or follow along on Goodreads and my writing website!

How I Published a Poetry Chapbook