Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Book Giveaway for November!

My writer friends and I are pleased to present the Naija Sister Writers Giveaway! One very blessed reader will be able to win not one, but four great books written by four Nigerian female writers.

1) An Unexpected Blessing by Unoma Nwankwor
2) Daughters Who Walk This Path by Yejide Kilanko
3) The Small Print by Abimbola Dare
4) Nothing Comes Close by Tolulope Popoola

 All the books are paperbacks (not e-books) signed by the authors and they will be shipped to you directly! If this sounds too-good-to-miss (because it is), then read on, and click to enter the contest!

Terms and Conditions

  • The contest is open to all regardless of country of residence, throughout the month of November 2013.
  • Please note that contestants are required to complete all steps in this giveaway.
  • By entering this giveaway, contestants agree to abide by the picture requirement.
  • Completing each step earns contestants ten points:
  • Please follow the authors on Twitter. Twitter handles are: @YejideKilanko, @TolulopePopoola, @bimbylads, @unwankwor
  • Please tweet about the giveaway or share the link on Facebook
  • Please note that the winner will be required to send a picture of the gift package when received. By submitting your picture to the NAIJA SISTER WRITERS giveaway, you agree to allow your image to be used for marketing purposes by the contest sponsors.
  • Please enter using the entry box at the bottom of the page.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thank you for entering the competition and all the best!

Thursday, October 03, 2013

Flash Fiction - Old Flames

“I would like you to meet my fiancée, Gbemi.” Tony said by way of introduction. I had seen the lady when she walked into the hall on his arm. 

I smiled at her as I took the hand she offered. 

“Hello Gbemi. It’s lovely to meet you,” I said. 

“Same here,” she replied, also smiling. She was very beautiful, tall and slim, with an oval face and high cheekbones. “Tony has told me so much about you.” 

Has he now? I wondered, my heart beating faster. Did he tell her the whole truth about us? Our complicated history… 

I realised she was still talking. “Sorry we didn’t get a chance to talk at the engagement party, but I’m sure we’ll be seeing you at the wedding.” 

“Unfortunately, I can’t attend.” I said. “I’m relocating to South Africa in a few days’ time.” 

Tony’s face fell. “Really? For how long?” 

“I’ll be there for a year, at least.” I replied, fidgeting with my necklace. 

“Oh that’s a shame. I was hoping we could catch up afterwards, you know… all three of us… it will be just like old times…” 

This guy could not be serious. 

I cut him short, laughing nervously. “Noooo, that won’t be necessary. You’ll be newly-weds, I’m sure you won’t want a third wheel coming along.” 

Gbemi was about to say something when I spotted my date coming towards us with my drink. I seized my chance to escape. Intense memories were about to suffocate me. 

“I have to go now, congrats again on your upcoming marriage. I hope you have lots of beautiful kids!” 

I smiled at both of them and walked away quickly, hoping I sounded more confident than I felt. 

I put thoughts of Tony out of my head and moved on with my life. I told myself that I should be happy that he was getting married. After all, I was the one that broke up with him when things were getting too serious. 

I finalised my plans, travelled to South Africa, and buried myself in my work. Then, four months later I got his email saying his wedding had been cancelled.

(c) Tolulope Popoola 2013

Monday, May 13, 2013

Updates: Flash Fiction, Reviews and Guest Post

Hello friends,

I've been a bit down in the last few weeks, but still busy trying to keep working on different projects. In the meantime, here's an update of some of the things I've had published (fairly) recently:

Flash Fiction on Brittle Paper:
I've had a second story published on Brittle Paper here: Because of Him

If you missed the first one, here it is: Betrayal (a prize goes to anyone who can name the song that inspired me to write that story)

Guest Post on The Creative Penn:
I had a guest post published on The Creative Penn (yay!) about Creating an Author Press Kit. Click to read it here: Book Marketing: Creating Your Author Press Kit

Vitabu Books featured "Nothing Comes Close" as their Book of the Month for April. Read the feature here: Vitabu |Book of the Month

Book Review by Under the Neem Tree:
Many thanks to Ndeye, the blogger behind Under the Neem Tree, a blog about books by authors of African descent and books written about Africa. She wrote this lovely review of Nothing Comes Close: Nothing Comes Close - A love story with an African Twist 

Thanks for dropping by! Wishing you a wonderful week.


Wednesday, April 24, 2013

On Writing: Finish What You Start

One of my biggest problems as a writer is finishing what I’ve started. I always have lots of different ideas in

my head at the same time, so I have a hard time committing to one project. Perhaps you’re like me and you have folders full of abandoned novels and short stories on your computer? Or maybe you started a few blogs, but gave up on updating them as often as you wanted to? 

Sometimes, an idea comes to me and I rush to my laptop or to start working on it. Or maybe I’m out and I only have my notebook to jot in but the idea gets me excited and I can't wait to start. But somehow, I get distracted or run out of steam. And then I abandon that project and start another one. 

Perhaps someone else has that same problem? You’ve got plenty of great ideas, but unfortunately, your motivation disappears just as the inspiration fizzles out and you’re left with a bunch of outlines and first drafts that aren’t going anywhere. Here are some tips I’ve come across that have helped me with finishing my projects: 

1) Don't Start Random New Projects:  It’s extremely tempting to start working on a new idea when it first pops into your mind. But you must resist the urge to begin anything new when you’re already swamped with unfinished work. You have to put a stop to that habit to break it. Otherwise, you’ll keep repeating the pattern and all new projects will lose its appeal and end up in the unfinished heap along with everything else. 
Instead, find a notebook, or create a document on your computer, to store ideas. Whenever you have a new idea, put it in this “idea bank” while you’re working on something else. When you’re ready, you can always come back to the ideas in that bank. 

2) Assess Your Current Projects:  Go through all your current works-in-progress. Make a list of the ones you feel are most valuable; then separate them from the ones you may come back to later, and the ones that don’t have any merit. Be realistic with each project. Is there anything that’s just not worth completing? Are those characters so clichéd that they’re not worth holding on to? Is the plot of that novel so weak that it would not hold up an 80,000 word story? Rather than keeping old projects hanging around, clear the useless ones out, and free up some space in your head and your laptop for new and worthy ones. 

3) Choose One Project to Focus On:  Now look through your list of useful ideas, and pick one to work on. You have to make one project your priority. This doesn’t mean that you can’t work on anything else, but it does mean that your “priority project” (whether it’s a novel, a blog or a newsletter), is the one that’s going to take most of your time and energy. You might have different criteria for choosing which project is your priority. You could choose to start with: the shortest project (for example a 3,000 word short story, not a 100,000 word novel). Or you may want to pick up the project that you’ve already put the most time into, so that’s probably getting close to finished.Whichever project you choose, commit to seeing it to the end, before choosing another one to prioritise.

4) Set Some Targets:
If you’re working on a blog, you can decide to set an hour every two days to work on your posts, and schedule them for publishing. Some small writing projects could be finished in a weekend, for example a short story. Most writing projects, though take more time to complete and you won’t be able to finish them in a day, or a week. You’ll need to set some targets to keep you on track. For example: completing a major section of a novel, writing a set number of words every day, finishing a first draft of a novel in six months, or scheduling a certain number of posts for your blog each week. Make sure you hold yourself accountable and reward yourself when you achieve your targets. 

5) What do you do with your “finished” project? It’s worth thinking about the goal for your finished project. If you’re working on a short story, what do you plan to do with it when you finish it? Would you save it for an anthology? Submit it to a magazine? Or enter it into a competition? If you’re working on an ebook, would you publish and sell it on the Kindle store? Would you offer it for free on your website? What about the novel, what’s it going to do for your writing career when it’s finished? Picture the end result that you want to achieve and work towards it.

Remember, half-finished projects are not going to do anything for you. Nobody will buy an incomplete novel. You cannot submit an unfinished short story. Whether your writing ambitions involve hitting the New York Times bestseller list or living from the income from your books, you do have to finish writing what you start so that they can add value to your career.

(c) Tolulope Popoola

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Flash Fiction: My Discovery

I had to know the truth. They had lied to me. A simple enquiry before a routine blood test had revealed that I wasn’t who I assumed I was. 

My best friend had been in an accident and I wanted to help her by giving blood. I knew the hospital where the ambulance had taken her, my family used the same one. It was the first time I went alone, and when I informed the nurse in reception about my mission, she went to retrieve our family’s file. That was when I saw it. 

I stormed out of the hospital and raced home as fast as I could. The wind rushing past me on my scooter echoed the thoughts in my head. I should have known; I’ve been so blind and stupid! How could I not see it? My parents, no they were not my parents or were they? I called them Mum and Dad. They looked after me, taught me all I know and told me I was their precious daughter. But look, as it turns out, they’ve been keeping secrets all my life. 

No wait, since I was two years old when they brought me home. They had kept the truth away from me for fourteen years. 

I tore through the open gate, flung the scooter aside, raced up the stairs and in through the front door. Mum, or should I still call her that, was setting the table for dinner. 

She looked up, smiled and was about to say something when I blurted out: 

“Am I adopted?”

(c) Tolulope Popoola

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Thursday, April 04, 2013

On Writing: Having a Mentor

When I first decided I was going to be a writer, there was a whole new uncharted territory ahead of me. I’d gone through school, university and the early part of my working life doing subjects in Accounting, Economics, Business and Finance. I knew very little about creative writing as a job so I really had a lot to learn. I’ll always be grateful to the people who encouraged me along by patiently teaching me things I needed to know. They are my writing mentors. 

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In any new venture or endeavour we want to take, it’s always helpful when we have someone who has been there, to teach us. This is very true in the writing business as well. It can be a lonely job, sitting at your desk for hours working on something, but you don’t know if it’s any good. It can be frustrating trying to learn about a new industry but you just can’t seem to get the hang of it. Or you get bombarded with so much information that it’s simply easier to get discouraged and give up. Here’s where a mentor can step in to keep you on the right track, and help you feel like you’re not alone. 

Benefits of having a writing mentor 

1) Getting impartial feedback on your work - A writing mentor is someone who can read your work and tell you what they really think about it. They can help you by giving constructive criticism. It’s easy for anybody to say your work is nice, but it’s not really helpful feedback. A writing mentor would be able to tell you what’s good about your work and what needs improving. This type of good feedback is exactly what you need to grow as a writer. 

2) Inspiration - A writing mentor should be someone who has achieved some goals that you’re aiming for. That way, they can encourage and inspire you to do the same. They can help you clarify your dreams, give you realistic ways of doing things and motivate you to keep going when you feel it’s too difficult. 

3) Avoid mistakes they’ve made - We all make mistakes when we’re learning something new, that’s very normal. But you can learn from the mistakes that someone else has made so you don’t have to repeat them. A writing mentor can show you what pitfalls to avoid, so you don’t waste time and effort (or even money) doing things that will not benefit you. 

4) Increase your confidence - A mentor would give your confidence a boost when you need it. It’s very encouraging when you get great feedback from somebody you admire and trust. 

5) Connections and Opening doors - A mentor could be someone who has built good relationships with other people in the writing and publishing industry. That could be useful if you need an introduction to certain people. 

6) Help you achieve your dreams - If you’re attempting something new, there will be lots of people who won’t understand it and would criticise or even tell you that it’s impossible. However, a mentor will be someone who will tell you that it is possible to achieve your dreams. He or she would be proof that you can follow your dreams and make them come true. 

7) A mentor may open your eyes to possibilities -  A mentor could show you ideas and opportunities that you may not have been aware of. They might be able to push you beyond your own knowledge, give you ideas to boost your skills and help you match your strengths to new tasks. 

So how do you choose a mentor? 
For me, I started by reading the blogs of writers I admired, and I set up a Facebook group to meet writers like me. Soon, I developed friendships with some of the people I followed and it grew from there. You can of course, have more than one mentor if you want. 

If you need help with writing and crafting stories, find someone that you admire their style of writing. If you need help with getting connections in the industry, look for someone who is well established and popular. Bear in mind though, that a mentor like that would be quite busy so they might have limited interaction with you. 

You can start online. Look for writers on Facebook or Twitter. Check their bio and read their blogs. There is no harm in asking – the worst they can do is say no. Don’t be a stalker, if they don’t respond to you, move on and find someone else. 

Every mentoring relationship is different. Try to have something useful to offer your mentor too, so that it is mutually beneficial relationship. You may decide to meet in person, or not. Nowadays you can interact with people in many different ways, so while it is great, you may not need to meet your mentor in person. I've made friends with so many people who have been helpful to me in my work, even though we've never met in person.

And of course, being friendly and polite goes a long way!

(c) Tolulope Popoola

Thursday, March 21, 2013

On My Blog Tour (18 - 25 March)

Hi everyone! Hope your week has been going well. My blog tour began on Monday this week, but as I've been having problems with my laptop, I haven't been able to keep you updated on all the features. Never mind, I've got my laptop back, and you can still take part in the tour. Click on the links below to read and comment on the posts.

"Nothing Comes Close" Blog Tour 

March 18 - Chick Lit Plus - Review

March 19 - Dewumni Nation - Review

March 19 - Dewumni Nation - Excerpt 

March 19 - Samantha March - Excerpt and Author Interview 

March 20 - Karma For Life Chick - Review

March 20 - Dewumni Nation - Interview

March 21 - Jersey Girl Book Reviews - Review, Guest Post and Excerpt

March 21 - Laurel's Open Page - Review and Author Interview

March 22 - Storm Goddess Book Reviews - Guest Post

March 25 - Lavender and Chamomile - Excerpt

I'll post the links to them, as soon as they're updated.

Bonus: If you leave a comment on the tour page here you'll be entered to win a $20 Amazon gift card!

Also, if you purchase a copy of Nothing Comes Close before March 25 and send the receipt to Samantha (at) ChickLitPlus (dot) com, you'll get five bonus entries!

Thank you!

Thursday, March 14, 2013

WiP Meeting and an Epiphany

Last night (as part of my ongoing efforts to get out more and meet like-minded people), I attended a meeting organised by Women in Publishing (UK). I first heard about them last year, when I was shortlisted for an award, and since then, I've learnt more about the organisation, and the brilliant work they do to promote the interests of women in the publishing industry.

Tolu and Joanna
This month, I was particularly excited because one of the guest speakers was Joanna Penn! She's an author, blogger, speaker, marketing guru and entrepreneur and she's the person behind The Creative Penn website and blog . I've been following her blog for a couple of years now and it's such a helpful site for authors like me who are going down the hands-on, DIY route to getting our stories published.
The other guest speaker was Maia Walczak who is a writer and illustrator of children's books.

Joanna was of course, lovely in person, with such enthusiasm and passion about sharing all that she's learnt in her journey to becoming a published author. She talked about the business of writing, the way self-published authors are bringing big changes into the publishing industry, she shared lots of advice and tips on self-publishing, including the things that writers should never skimp on: a professional editor and cover design!After the meeting, I had a brief chat with Joanna, and I'll be doing a guest post on her blog sometime next month.

Something else I wanted to share: I had a bit of an epiphany on my way to the meeting which was at the Strand. I took the underground to Liverpool Street, and decided to come out to take the bus to the venue instead. As I came out of Liverpool Street station, it was 6.09pm which is peak closing time rush hour. So the station concourse was full of the 9 - 5 commuters rushing to and fro, mostly trying to get home. I stood watching them for a while, remembering that this was my life, only five years ago. I too, used to stand on the concourse, waiting for my train and platform number to be displayed on the train. I felt really grateful and  free at that moment, realising that I was out of that miserable 9 - 5 madness that I'd been stuck in, not knowing that there is another way to live. If someone had told me then, that I would see things differently a few years down the line, I wouldn't have believed them.

Of course, I'm not (yet) making as much money as I would like to, but I can now see that life is not just about how much money you make. There's more to life than being a slave to a job you hate. You have to see your life as a whole. The fulfilment I get from loving my career, and the flexibility of being able to work from home while looking after my baby, are things that mean a lot more to me. 

As I walked away and got on my bus, I told myself to remember that moment whenever I start feeling discouraged or upset that I'm not where I thought I would be yet. I have to learn to enjoy the journey and progress that I've made so far.

Monday, March 04, 2013

"Nothing Comes Close" Blog Tour

In a couple of weeks, I'll be doing a short blog tour with Nothing Comes Close. It's organised by CLP Blog Tours and you can find out more HERE

The tour commences on the 18th of March, with a review by Chick Lit Plus. There'll be guest posts, excerpts, reviews and interviews on other blogs. I'll keep you up to date with where I'll be and what I'm doing next. I hope you guys would follow me and enjoy the posts!

Giveaway Winner Picked!

Many thanks to MissJ, Michael Onobote and Lady in Black for entering my valentine giveaway! You all gave excellent responses, and I couldn't choose so I used a random number generator:

So Michael, you've won a free copy of Nothing Comes Close! To claim, please send me an email to favouredgirl @ gmail dot com with your details and I'll get the book to you.

To be fair (since I'm so nice) if Lady in Black and MissJ don't mind, I'll be happy to send you Nothing Comes Close as an ebook. If you wish to claim, please send me an email as well.

Thanks again, and I hope you enjoy reading the story.

Friday, March 01, 2013

New Reviews for "Nothing Comes Close"

Hi everyone! Hope you've had a great month in February! I can't believe it's over already. It's been a busy month for me, with work and personal stuff. I've slacked a bit on some of my fitness goals, but I think I'm making some good progress on my reading and writing.

So far this year, I've read:
The Life of Pi by Yann Martel
Tiny Sunbirds, Far Away by Christie Watson
Thursdays in the Park by Hilary Boyd
Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen
and I'm currently reading The Rice Mother by Rani Manicka

I've also started working on my next novel. I have to do some research but I'll focus on getting the first draft done before I start filling in the background details, otherwise I'll never finish. I can't wait to get to the end of that process!

In other news:

Nothing Comes Close recently received four great reviews from different readers and publications. As a writer, it's great when readers connect with something you've written, and explain it from their own perspective. So it's perfectly possible to have two different readers interpreting your work in different ways. I enjoyed reading the reviews below, and they've given me a few things to think about. I hope you enjoy reading them too.

BN Reviews on BellaNaija ~ A truly African love story, Nothing Comes Close shows us how African women fall in love—cautiously but completely. It is London sometime in the 2000s. Four young women—Lola, Funmi, Temmy, Maureen, and Titi—are caught up in the usual London hustle, doing the career thing and still finding time to look pretty at parties and bars. But their lives aren’t perfect, especially for Lola, who is nursing a broken heart and hanging on to a job—as a financial analyst—that she doesn’t like. At a house party organized by one of the girls, she meets Wole. The attraction is instant, but in her classic Nigerian-girl approach to romance, she is hesitant, always worrying about “losing all sense of caution.” But when unexpected tragedy strikes in the form of a murder, the force of desire heightened by the pain of loss drives Lola into Wole’s arms. From that point, the driving question of the plot becomes: will Wole reward her need for comfort with love or will his dark past destroy their chance for happiness? 

OnePageWeekly ~ The romance between Popoola’s protagonists hits a rough patch when a murder investigation threatens to unearth some unpalatable details from the male protagonist’s past. The depth of trust, love and faith that was deposited in the relationship goes through an unfair test. Throw in a meddling relative; Lola’s sister who in the process of being protective almost murdered the relationship that Popoola got us rooting for. There, we have us a typical romance story. The good thing is that this novel is more than the conventional romance novel. 

Critical Literature Review ~ Nothing Comes Close flexibly narrates love with the complex mishmashes of life as its characters battle different torments. It is in the battling that the reader is hooked to the book. He suddenly sees his life in scattered shards in the characters’. In Lola; you will be the lady thrashing around to be loved, hurting with every move… In Nothing Comes Close, love twirls everything, leaving in its wake disgusts, pains, hurts and fulfillments as the chapters in the books are skillfully divided between Lola’s and Wole’s point-of-views. 

Just Read It ~ The novel is a typical boy-meets-girl story but fused with twists and turns, interfering relatives, jealous friends, unexpected deaths and more than a few secrets, lies and revelations along the way. Lola is an attractive independent, confident young woman who likes to hang out with her three best friends. She meets Wole at the party of one of said best friends and is immediately charmed by his good looks and cool mysterious demeanor. Wole too is taken by Lola and the two very quickly develop a relationship. But the course of true love does not run smooth because Wole despite being Mr Perfect is a man of several unbecoming secrets which are slowly revealed as the novel unfolds, leaving Lola to wonder if she can really trust him. The evidence and her sister (the interfering relative) says not. But Lola wants to follow her heart, and without wanting to give too much away she does but not without cost. 

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

My Interview with Sahara TV

I was interviewed last week by Adeola Fayehun for Sahara TV's Inspire Segment. I talked about writing, my novel, my adventures in publishing and leaving my Accounting job to follow my dreams of becoming a writer.

You can watch the interview below:

Many thanks to Tundun Adeyemo and Adeola Fayehun for making it happen.

Thanks for watching. Do feel free to comment and share!

Friday, February 08, 2013

Nothing Comes Close - Valentine Giveaways

As it's a week to Valentine's day, I'm doing a few giveaways of my novel, Nothing Comes Close!

You can enter any of the three below:

Blog Giveaway: For your chance to win a copy, just leave a comment below, telling me about your best ideas to celebrate Valentine's Day! Let me know if you want the paperback or ebook.

There's also a giveaway happeneing on Kentake Page, and you can take part by clicking here:

Thanks for entering and all the best!

Monday, February 04, 2013

The Joys of Multitasking

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These days, I'm wearing many hats. From the minute I wake up, to the minute I flop down on my bed (usually) at night, I am doing several things at the same time. Writing stuff for new novel and other projects, marketing stuff for current novel, looking after a toddler, running a small business, catching up on reading, social networking, keeping up with house chores and other responsibilities, etc. It's mostly fun, but it can be overwhelming sometimes. Just ask any working mum how she juggles all the things she has to do in one week. 

So at the beginning of this week and this month (hi there February, you crept up on me), I set myself some new targets. Must do another few thousand words on WIP. I must finish writing that short story. Must write that flash fiction I promised to send to the magazine. Must eat healthy and fit in exercise. Must read that novel and review it, the author has been waiting since November...

Fast forward to today, and I feel like I haven't achieved a single thing all week. I'm sure I must have done some things, maybe I just don't think it's significant enough. Sure I looked after an active toddler all day, everyday and managed to send a few emails here and there, but I'm seriously slacking on my writing goals. It's not like I haven't tried to write. In fact, yesterday I was feeling guilty for not writing, so I sat at my desk, ignored the noise around me and forced myself to write. But by the time I finished and looked at what I'd written, it didn't make sense at all. I gave up and went to do other things instead.

I think trying to do several things at the same time can sometimes be counter-productive. It becomes difficult to focus on one thing and get that done. There are times when my head feels so full of "things-to-do" that I actually prefer to shut down and just read a book instead. I'm realising that I need to find a more efficient way to organise my tasks each day, so that I make the best use of my (limited) writing time. It's alright to set goals and targets, but there's also a need to check how they are working out for me in my day-to-day activities.

How are you doing with the goals you set for yourself at the beginning of the year?

Thursday, January 03, 2013

My 2012 Review and Goals for 2013

It's the first week of 2013! Happy New Year to everyone. I hope this will be your best year yet, and I pray you'll have many reasons to be thankful by December.

Like most people, I use this time of the year to reflect on the past twelve months, and also make plans for the coming months. 2012 was a remarkable year, globally and for me personally. There were big world events like the Olympics and Paralympics, the re-election of President Obama in America, chaos in Syria, bad news as Eurozone crisis gets worse, historical elections in Egypt, the Queen's Diamond Jubilee in the UK and so many other news; good and bad.

On a personal level, as I look back on 2012, I think of it as a year where I had to work really hard, but I feel blessed because I made a lot of progress with my personal and career goals. I achieved some things I was aiming for, I had some surprises along the way, and I also had a few disappointments too. I'm glad I was able to finish writing, editing and publishing my book, Nothing Comes Close, plan and execute a book launch, and collate some of my favourite flash fiction stories into an ebook. I was able to set up my own independent publishing company, Accomplish Press and even get recognised with an award nomination.

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As the new year progresses, I have some goals on my next-to-achieve list, some are "must happen" and some are "maybes" and "like to achieve". I remember someone told me that dreams are just that, dreams, until you write them down and make plans for incorporating them into your life as you go forward. So I've decided to write down my main goals for 2013 here:

1) Writing: I plan to finish working on my second book. This involves the writing, editing and publishing. To achieve this, I should cut down on distractions and aim for writing around 4000 words a week. I also want to write some more flash fiction and short stories.

2) Reading: Last year, I read only eighteen books (insert embarassed face here). That's bad, so this year, I'm determined to read a lot more. I've already got four books lined up to read this month, and several others to look forward to as the year progresses. If you want to know what I'm reading, follow me on Goodreads.

3) Be More Social: Yes, I need to get out more. I work from home, and my job involves hours of sitting at a desk typing away. And for many months last year, it seemed like my default answer to every invitation was "no, sorry". By nature, I'm an introvert but this year I'm going to make more of an effort to accept a few more invitations, go out and meet people, network with other writers and publishers, and generally connect with people in the real world, instead of just the virtual one.

4) Exercise more: Don't we all struggle with this one? I know all the benefits of eating a healthy diet and exercise but somehow, in the midst of working and looking after my family, it gets pushed down my list of priorities. I'm going to take it more seriously this time. I actually started making changes towards the end of 2012, so I just need to be consistent with it. One motivation: I'm approaching my thirtieth birthday and I want to make sure that I'm fit and healthy now so that I can keep up the good habits well into my thirties and beyond!

5) Publishing: I have three projects in the pipeline for Accomplish Press, and a partnership that I hope will enable me to expand the reach of the books we publish. I’m hoping that I can bring more writers to the attention of the public in 2013 and invest more in our campaign to get more young people to read more books.

So there we have it! I would be scheduling regular intervals throughout the year to check up on how well I'm doing with these goals. So help me God.I look forward to celebrating each milestone as I achieve them.

Do you have goals for the year? Feel free to share some of them in the comments.

Enjoy 2013!