My Great Big January In Writing, Reading, and Life

My January plans for The Black Wolf Series, my reading list, and what life is throwing my way by @jemartinbooks
This year, I’m slowing down on plans and focusing more on enjoying the journey

For the first time in kind of as long as I can remember, I’m not feeling total distaste for the month of January. Historically, I have hated the earlier months of the year. I do get excited for the fresh start. But the colder months of shorter days are not for me. I don’t usually start to perk up until around March or April.

This year, though, I’m feeling more optimistic than I normally do. It’s probably thanks to a combination of a lot of things – therapy, my growing business, the thrill of getting back to work on the writing side of The Black Wolf Series. I really do have a lot to look forward to!

In the past, I’ve used January as the jumping-off point for far too many goals. I’ve made plans like I’ve magically gained the ability to add at least an additional 24 hours to each day.

We’re totally out with that idea this year. In fact, I’ve scaled way back from even what I was doing in December to give myself a slow start. That still feels like an uncomfortable and, frankly, unconscionable change to make. It’s tough for me to wrap my mind around this concept that I should slow down, rather than constantly trying to gain more and more momentum. But in the spirit of continuing to promote the positive changes my mental health has seen in the past twelve months, I’m sticking with the idea that keeping an easy, but steady, pace is wiser than racing through each day in a manic panic, chasing the moment when I’ll burn out for good.

January Writing

Over the next few weeks, I’ll be doing the final prep before I start drafting Black Wolf Book Five. I’ve been going back through my outlining notebooks to see what all I still need to work on. So far, I’ve been devoting my time to wrapping up character backstory and rounding out my character interviews – basically filling in any blanks left on the characters sheets for my story bible.

Once I finish up with my characters, I’ll need to do some final work on documenting any additional details about the new settings I’m bringing in on this book.

Then, I’ll be making my outline notecards so I can move them all around to their right places to be sure I’m not missing any big scenes or spotting any last-minute plot holes.

I know most of the story in my head, and I’m looking forward more each day to getting started on the writing – I’ve missed being brain-deep with the Black Pack!

Reverie Press

I’ve already got January booked up with Reverie work. Right now, my main focus is on a big contract with a LitRPG novel, which is fun since the genre is mostly new to me. Because it’s one I’m not as familiar with, I’ve put a couple of LitRPG books on my reading list for the month. I don’t know whether or not I’ll get hooked on this new genre, but I’ll try anything once!

I’m always open to new contracts and clients, though, so if you’re looking to self-publish your latest book or need a coach to help you get started on that first novel, give me a shout over at Reverie!

January Reading

  • DIY MFA by Gabriela Pereira – I got this one for Christmas last year, but didn’t get a chance to read it (I did read 60+ other books, though, so give me a little credit). I’m already about a third of the way through and really enjoying the content so far. I’m especially getting use out of the writing variable tracking – but I’ve altered it to fit my outlining process for now. I’m tracking the time variable at the moment – testing to see if I get better outlining work done first thing in the morning or late at night or any other time during the day. It’s a great, concise way to track that progress and find places where experimentation might yield even better results!
  • Rebirth Online by Michael James Ploof and Otherlife by William D. Arand – Not my usual genre, but I’m brushing up my knowledge for a client I’m working with, so these two get a place of honor on my list. I don’t have anything against reading new genres – I love it! You never know when you’ll find a new kind of story to read and enjoy. I’ve started the first chapter of this one and am already hooked – a pleasant surprise!

January Life

This month, I’m celebrating TEN YEARS with my husband. Yep. A whole decade has passed since we started dating. It feels like the time has raced right away from me – I’d love to reach out, grab onto it, and force it to stand still for just a few moments so I could more fully comprehend the depth of joy and love I feel. The gratefulness that overwhelms me at the fact that I found my soul mate. And yeah, I believe in that shit. There’s no other explanation for the kind of connection we have.

We try to get to NYC every year to celebrate that dating anniversary – and, hopefully, this year will be no different! We haven’t missed a year yet, even if we’ve had to rearrange the time we can go. Last year, we were able to line our visit up with the Women’s March, which was an awesome experience.

I had the amazing opportunity to live in the city for a while during college – thanks to the outrageous dreams and fierce tenacity I shared with my dear friend and fellow author A.K.R Scott.

The first year my husband and I were together, he was playing bass for a rock band and invited me to join him on their east coast tour. One of the stops was a Brooklyn venue – so, before their show, I got to spend the day guiding him through his first visit to the city. He claimed it as our place that day – I know well enough to know you’re not a real New Yorker if you’re not a real New Yorker, but I include it on my list of surrogate homes.

The Amazing Martinis - The Early Days by @jemartinbooks
Proof of my bleach blond days – and that time my husband was a local rock legend (or something like that)

On our next trip, we had the Big Talk about knowing we wanted to be together forever. Neither one of us was ready for marriage at that time (mostly me – I wasn’t entirely convinced I ever wanted to get married again after the epic failure of my first marriage). But we made the decision to be partners from that point forward – whatever that meant.

It ended up taking us to live together on an island. Through a dozen other states and countries. Diving from the skies and 100 feet under the sea. He’s my courage, my strength, and my heart. So…yeah. Sorry to get way off on a tangent there, but these ten years are kind of a big deal.

This month also marks an achievement of getting to enter maintenance mode in my therapy. My care team is spacing more time between my appointments as a way to see how I’m doing and where my care needs to go from here. I won’t lie – the freedom and flexibility are both liberating and terrifying. That’s another great reason to take things a little slower this month. If I hit any hurdles, I’ll have the room to work around them. Every day brings something new, but if you’re not in it for the adventure, why do it at all?

So, that’s what my January looks like!

What about you? Any major goals or resolutions you’re working toward? What great books are on your TBR? Share it all below. I can’t wait to hear!



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