GOOD MORNING, 2021!: goals, aspirations, and just a pinch of pixie dust

good morning, cyberspace!

Well, folks, we made it. 2020 is finally over, and we’re standing bright-eyed and bushy-tailed in the sparkling sunshine of a brand new year!

….lol, okay, so maybe that’s an over-exaggeration. To be quite honest with you, I stayed up a ridiculous amount of time on New Year’s Eve in order to A) finish this blog post, and B) finish my goodreads reading challenge for 2020. Which, since I still had 4 books to read before midnight, obviously means that I downloaded a bunch of children’s picture books off Libby to binge whilst eating jalapeño popper dip and watching my family work on a 3,000 piece Beatles puzzle. So to say that I was bright-eyed and bushy-tailed on the first? Eh, no thanks. Red-eyed and cowlicked would probably have been a better descriptor. XD

But despite the fact that I’m more than a little sleep-deprived, I’m still extremely excited for this new year we’re in! I know it’s a little cliché and perhaps a bit annoying to some, but I LOVE the new year. To me, it really does feel like a fresh start. Or…as close to a fresh start as we can possibly get. *side-eyes skeletons in my closet warily*

And what better moment to start completely overriding how you perceive and challenge your goals than on the day when the rest of the world does the exact same thing! New Year, New Me, after all, amiright?

lolololololololol *distant sobbing*

Season 2 Phil GIF by CBS All Access

>>> <<<


Okay, okay, in all seriousness, while I don’t believe that your entire being can change with the simple twitch of a clock at midnight, I do believe that setting goals and aspirations for yourself at the start of a new year is a somewhat fun practice, and therefore that is precisely what we’re gonna do today!

Of course, if there’s one thing that 2020 taught me, it’s that Life has a way of completely switching everything up on you without a moment’s notice, so while I’m making these goals with the intent of accomplishing them, I’m definitely giving myself grace in the odds that I fail them, and will NOT be critical of myself if I don’t manage to complete them all.

A least, I’ll try very hard not to be critical of myself. That’s probably something I should set as a goal, to be honest. *nervous laughter*


a.k.a my favorite goals to set!!! I have … quite a lot of writing projects I want to work on this year. Which means that either A) I will complete them all and be a very happy bean in one year’s time, or B) I will complete absolutely none of them and be a ball of absolute stress in about a month or so.

It’s naught but a coin toss as to which one we’ll end up with, but this is a risk I am willing to take, peasants.

live dangerously austin powers GIF

i. complete the first draft of PROJECT GOBLIN

You will most likely remember that the past two months have been spent in the epic failure of me trying to write the first draft of Project Goblin. First NaNoWriMo, in which I wrote a solid and respectable 10,000 words, and then my own personal project called NaNoWhyTho, in which I wrote … 2,000 words.

Yeah. That’s December, for you.

However, now that the holidays are behind us, I figure now’s as good a time as any to really start cranking out the words for Project Goblin! I’m currently a wee bit stuck plot-wise, but I’m sure it’s nothing a good brainstorming session can kick loose!

Of course, as any good task-completer will tell you, it’s always wise to create a deadline for yourself as to when you should complete your project or goal. But since I find that blurting all the gory details of my plans to the world then results in me not lifting a finger to COMPLETE said goal, I will be keeping my makeshift deadline a secret for the time being.

Y’all will know when I finish the book. When you hear the pterodactyl screeching in the distance, you shall know.

ii. read and revise the second draft of PROJECT SUNSET

Not gonna lie, Project Sunset was a super fun book to write.

It is also a massive garbage fire and I must burn it down completely before rebuilding it into something glorious. Thus the reason that I would REAAAAAALLY like to read through the first draft and then revise a second draft of Project Sunset this year! Of course, this might not actually happen, since it IS a rather large undertaking, AND it’s been quite a while since I’ve tackled a second draft. But I’m confident that I can at least start it, and that’s half the battle right there, is it not?

iii. outline and draft PUMPKALAGOO

…..okay, so literally no one has heard about this story yet, but LOOK, MA! I HAVE A NEW STORY SPROUT!

I’m not going to say TOO awful much about this project quite yet, but I CAN tell you that it’s A) a middle grade novel about a witch, and B) was greatly inspired about the weird poem about a king eating a raven in a pie.

…or something along that line, anyway. XD

iv. thorough readthrough and revision of EVERLOST

This one is going last because, in all honesty, this isn’t a SUPER big priority for me…..which obviously means this is a massive priority, and if I don’t get this done this year, I might cry.

Or throw a pitchfork and a tantrum, but I digress.


OOOH, LOOK! A new one! Usually I do Writing, Reading, and Life, but this year I wanted to switch it up a bit and make some writing community goals, as well! Especially since we all know I need some accountability when it comes to being present in the community… *nervous sweating*

i. post to blog 1 time a week (excepting any hiatuses I might feel convicted to take)

This is a big one for me. If all else fails, I’d really, REALLY like to start blogging again. This community has helped me grow so much as a person and as a writer, and it’s through blogging that I’ve found some of my closest, most deepest of friendships.

So to say that I’d like to keep up with blogging this year is a massive understatement. I need to do this. This is my community, and when I’m away from it, I don’t really feel very much like myself at all. So 2021…please let this be the year that I dig my roots in deep and thrive.

ii. post to instagram 3x weekly

As I’ve continued to dip my toes into the depths of Instagram, I’ve realized that this is another platform I’d really like to get involved with! For the longest time I used Twitter as my means of outside communication with the writing community, but–if I’m being perfectly honest–the negativity on there is rather astounding. So I’m switching gears (for now) and focusing more of my intent onto Instagram, where I can share aesthetically pleasing photos and write captions that are longer than 150 characters. XD

While posting three times a week is definitely a goal that I have, I’m not going to kill myself over it. Blog posts and my personal writings are going to be my main focus this year, and social media is just going to be a side project for the time being.

(however, if you’d LIKE to follow my instagram, it’s @thesmudgedthoughts *hint-hint*)

iii. become more involved with the writing/blogging community as a whole

THIS. This right here is something that I’ve been wanting to do for FOREVER. But somehow I just keep…failing? There are so many wonderful blogs that I’m following and want to support, and yet???? For some reason I keep getting in this rut where if I haven’t read ALL of the posts on someone’s blog, I …. shouldn’t read the new ones? And honestly this is a very toxic way of thinking, and I’m KICKING THAT OUT in 2021. So if you’ve seen me poking around your blogs more … this is probably why. I sincerely apologize for not being as supportive and involved as I should have been the past year or so, but I hope that this year I’m finally able to become a part of this beautiful community in the way that I’ve always wanted to–which is by supporting everyone else’s blogs in the way y’all have continued to support mine. <33


As per tradition, I’m going to keep up with my goal of reading as many books as the new year suggests, which is–in the year of our Lord, 2021–21 books!

Last year (lol) I barely finished my goal by reading 4 picture books before the clock struck midnight on the 31st, so like….that was fun. But this year, I’m planning on doing some things a little bit differently. (lol, lies)

i. read 21 books

This is relatively self-explanatory. Moving on.

ii. read mostly from the books that are currently on my shelves

Ahem. I have a lot of books. This is good, of course–I’m very blessed to have the books I have! But like….I tend to collect them rather than read them, and, my friends, this should not be so! So this year, I’d love to start reading from my personal collection … which has started seeping into every room of our house. (it’s fine. i’m not worried, or anything. [someone please send help, the books are taking over my life])


Notice how this goal is in caps, whereas the rest of my goals have been lowercase? THIS IS TO MARK HOW IMPORTANT THIS GOAL IS TO ME.

Guys. Seriously. I need to start reading more Indie. There are SO. MANY. Indie Authors who I want to support, and like??? Why am I not doing this???? (i mean obviously it’s because i have very limited funds to spend towards books, but PSSSH WHAT IS MONEY IF NOT TO BE USED FOR BOOKS, AMIRIGHT [*weeps softly*]) I definitely have some ideas as to how I can start to fix this, but I think my first step is to read and review the indie books I already have on my shelves! (hello, goal #2!) Authors always talk about how much a simple review will do for the visibility of their books, and guys … I still don’t think I review enough books, especially indie ones. Trad authors have a lot of visibility, I feel like, but sometimes I think Indies get overlooked in the excitement for larger, more well-known titles. AND, MY FRIENDS *slams fist on table* THIS. SHOULD. NOT. BE.

So! I’m going to try and read and review more books this year, but mostly books by indie authors. Because they deserve credit for the amazing things they’re doing, and–not gonna lie here–some indie books are LEVELS above traditionally published fiction.

Y’all know it’s true.


Every year, I like to choose a word for myself–a word which helps symbolize what I want to truly focus on in the year to come. Last year, I chose “whimsy” and “enchanting” (I may or may not have stolen that second one from my mom. the debate is still out, however, and I’ve hired a very good lawyer. XD) Suffice to say, I can’t say as though last year was either enchanting or whimsical. At least, not so much in the way I had imagined. But even so, I still found whimsy and enchantment in the little things, and I think maybe that’s more worthwhile than anything I could have dreamt up.

This year, however, it took me a few days to land on the word I wanted to focus on this year–or rather, the quote I want to focus on. Because apparently 2021 is so immense and unpredictable that I can’t choose a single word for it:

“It’s no use going back to yesterday, because I was a different person then.”

– Alice

I love this quote. The minute I saw it for the first time–or rather, truly noticed it for the first time–I knew that it was one to tuck away inside my pocket. And now, months later, I’m finally able to pull it out again.

I am no longer the person I was a year ago. I’m no longer the person I was yesterday. Yesterday Kenzie made mistakes and wrong turns and had more than a few mishaps, but it’s no use going back to then, because who I am today is a little older and wiser than who I was before. It’s fun to look at where we’ve been and see how much we’ve grown, but we can’t continue to live there, wishing for things to be the way they were or fretting over the situations we could have handled differently. We have to accept the fact that yesterday is gone, and today is only here for a moment.

I have to learn to live more in the present, and let the past go.

And this is something that I’d like to intentionally focus on this year. Whether or not it actually happens remains to be seen, but I have every hope that this year will be one filled with making memories in all the many today’s to come.

>>> <<<

And those, my friends, are my (current) goals for the year! Obviously I’m anticipating on failing in a lot of these, but as far as Januaries go, this year has been off to a rather decent start! I’m excited to see where it leads me, and I’m eager to keep moving forward and writing ALL OF THE THINGS. 2021 is going to be one wild year, but with a little faith, trust, and pixie dust, I anticipate it’s going to be one of my favorite years yet. <333

talk to me, peasants!

what sorts of things are YOU planning on doing in this new year? do you typically make goals for the new year, or do you just go with the flow and knock things out as you feel like it? (knowing my track record with goals, I should really do this. XD) do you have multiple projects you’re hoping to complete this year? and if so, what sorts of methods do you use to track and accomplish them all? i’m still relatively new to the world of project juggling, and i could use all the help i can find. XD

And most importantly…

do you have any indie book recommendations?

I’d love any and all recs you guys are able to throw my way!!

As always, let’s talk about ALL OF THE THINGS in the comments down below, and until next time….

* flings cookies in the air and disappears *


21 thoughts on “GOOD MORNING, 2021!: goals, aspirations, and just a pinch of pixie dust

  1. HAPPY 2021, DEAREST KENZIE!!! We have made it! *throws confetti and glitter* I, too, get so pumped with the new year. Nothing like a fresh start to kick me into gear and offer a fresh dose of motivation. Plus I’m a nerd and love making lists. And the beginning of the year is the time for ALL the lists. So I am a happy bean. XD

    Okay, firstly, the image of you reading children’s books while eating jalapeño popper dip and your family putting together a Beatles puzzle is one of the greatest images ever and honestly an aesthetic. I love it so much. XD That sounds like a GREAT way to ring in the new year!

    Secondly, I LOVE YOUR GOALS!!! And ooooh, a new Kenzie story is in the works about a witch and a weird poem? I AM ALREADY INTRIGUED. YESSS!

    And yay for more Indie books! For the past two years I’ve been deeply diving into a ton of indie reads and THERE ARE JUST SO MANY GOOD ONES. So I will most happily offer some recs! *cracks knuckles*

    – The Icarus Aftermath by Arielle Bailey (which I know I flail about a lot but IT’S SO GOOD.)
    – The Two Monarchies series by W.R. Gingell (which I flail about a lot as well but…IT’S SO GOOD. I’ve heard her Between Worlds books are amazing too, but I’ve yet to read them.)
    – Tales of Ambia series by Allison Tebo
    – A Fair Account of the Traitors Snow White and Rose Red by S.E. Page
    – Dark is the Night by Mirriam Neal (a little gritty at times, but still utterly FABULOUS)
    – Paper Crowns by Mirriam Neal
    – The Afterverse series by Kyle Robert Shultz (some of my favorite books of EVER)
    – The Electrical Menagerie by Mollie E. Reeder (one of my favorite books IN EXISTENCE and such a magical, whimsical, heartfelt read)

    Okay, I need to stop but UGH. SO MANY GOOD ONES. The indie market really has blossomed lately. It’s fabulous!

    Can I just say how much I ADORE your phrase for 2021??? And IT’S AN ALICE IN WONDERLAND QUOTE. Which makes it 10000x even more awesome! I actually have a notebook with that quote on it and it’s one of my favorite things ever. All your thoughts on it and why you chose it are just so beautiful and motivating! I LOVE your mentality here, and you’re so right! We don’t have to live each day being dragged down by our yesterdays. EVERY day is a new day, a new start. And we should just…live! Yes yes yes! I love this so much and you’re inspiring me to embrace that mentality as well.

    Happy New Year again! I do hope you have a most magical and frabjous one! <3


    • Oh my goodness, I can’t believe 2021 is finally HERE. It’s wonderful and terrifying and exciting all at the same time!!! And oh my word, I LOVE lists!!! Unfortunately I’m rotten at sticking with them. (my brain utterly refuses to utilize ANY sort of productivity. It’s bad. But I’m trying to retrain it?? Hopefully??? XD)

      Okay, but it was literally the BEST start to my year, I’m not gonna lie. XD And the books I read were SO. STINKING. CUTE!!! 10/10 recommend Ryan T. Higgins if you haven’t read him yet! His books are incredible!

      Oh my WORD!!! CHRISTINE, THANK YOU!!! I am literally going to dump all of these onto my TBR for this year… I have no shame. XD And I’ve definitely heard of a few of these! Some of them are new to me, but I’ve heard of the Electrical Menagerie and I’ve read the first of the Afterverse series! (absolutely adored it, can’t wait to read more. XD) Honestly, I wish I had more TIME in each day, because if I had my choice, I would just sit and read all of the books all day and it would just be such a glorious life…. *sighs* ALSO FLAILING ABOUT BOOKS IS A MUST! This is how I find new ones. So please keep flailing. I need this in my life. XD

      MEEP!!! I’m so so glad you liked the phrase I picked! And ASDFGHJKL REALLY??? You have a notebook with it on it??? Dude, that is SO COOL!!! I absolutely adore Alice (which I’m sure you already know by now XD) so literally anything Alice in Wonderland makes my smol heart so so happy… And the fact that I share this obsession with you makes me love it even that much MORE.

      EEP! Happy new year! (albeit a little late at this point. XD) Here’s hoping we crush ALL OF THE THINGS this year!!! <33


  2. Yay, you made it to 2021!!

    Best of luck on all your goals! I need to read more indie this year too . . . but I would recommend Blank Mastermind by Rosey Mucklestone, if you haven’t read it already. It’s a superhero book with a twist, and it’s AMAZING.

    I love the quote that you picked out for this year! It’s so beautiful and such a good reminder that we can’t live our lives in the past – we’ve got to focus on the present. <3 I hope you succeed at that this year, and have a happy 2021!!! <3 <3

    Liked by 1 person

    • Lol! IT’S A MIRACLE!!!! XD

      Oh my word!!! An indie superhero story?? Dude, I am SO adding this to my TBR!!! Thank you!!!

      Meep, thank you so much!! I definitely want to stop living in the past so much this year. There’s so much good to be found in the day-to-day, and focusing on what once was gets us nowhere. (now if only it was as easy to do as it is to say. XD) Aw, thank you SO much, Nicole!!! Same to you!!! I hope this year holds all of your wildest dreams!! <333

      Liked by 1 person

    • OOOOH! I will definitely have to add this one to my TBR!!! Thank you!

      Also UGH. Juggling multiple projects is nigh impossible, and yet I’m still trying. I know it’s going to be a good skillset to have in the future, so might as well start developing it now. XD

      Liked by 1 person

  3. *high five for desperately cramming on New Year’s Eve to meet one’s Goodreads goal* Yeah. I lowered my 2021 goal significantly. Also, reading books off one’s own shelves is such a good idea and a goal I will attempt to follow you in! I counted and I own 45 books I haven’t read. And like. That’s just way too many. I probably won’t get them all read in 2021, but making a dent would be nice.

    Ahh, it’s so annoying how one’s brain works. If one gets behind keeping up with the blogosphere, one’s brain decides one can’t just jump back in, one has to cATCH UP and dO EVERYTHING ALL AT ONCE, making it impossible and making one’s plight worse than ever. (Note: I am saying “one” so as to keep this impersonal. We don’t want to offend anyone. Especially ourselves. Ourselves are very sensitive.) But like??? Nobody minds if you miss some posts or take a while to respond to a comment??? Just jump back in!!! But no. One’s brain is too stubborn for this.
    (*cough* What that odd paragraph up there was meant to say was: good luck with all your goals, including engaging with people’s content [because people write awesome content, don’t they? the amount of talent is amazing], and keeping up with blogging. And also I feel you and when we fail at this we can cry together.)

    Okay, I love that Alice in Wonderland quote!! I always have, and the fact that you’re making it your motto for the year is so perfect!! (I loved everything you said in your Goodbye 2020 post, too, about failure. I very much needed to hear it. and this reminds me of it, in the best way.)

    “PUMKALAGOO”? PUMPKALAGOO, Kenzie??? That is the best title I’ve EVER heard. Please teach me your titling skills. PLEASE.
    But for real. That made my day.
    Also it sounds amazing. All your stories sound amazing. Please finish and publish them stat

    *listens for the sound of distant pterodactyl screeching*


  4. Happy New Year!

    These are all such inspiring aspirations. I’m trying to decide if doing a 2021 goals post will motivate me or discourage me/wear me out? Haven’t decided yet. But I loved reading YOUR goals!

    If you want to read some good indie books without breaking the bank, you should join the Fellowship of Fantasy Indie Book Club! We nominate and pick one book a month, and the author makes the e-book free (so unless you are opposed to reading e-books, which I totally understand and respect and even empathize with except that I really kind of fell in love with my kindle in 2020 so there’s that) it’s a pretty sweet deal. And then there are people to flail about with after reading the books, so that’s nice, as well.

    You can find the book club here:

    That is a lovely 2021 quote. I might steal it. Though I have a sinking feeling that “Cry ‘Havoc!’, and let slip the dogs of war!” will probably be more appropriate. (oh dear, 2020 appears to have infused me with a certain amount of snarky cynicism… I will have to try to combat that… guess I’ll put it on my list of 2021 goals). Hehe.


  5. These are great goals! I hope you achieve all that you set out to do! <3

    Pumpkalagoo is an awesome title! :D

    I love that quote! And I chose something similar for my word of 2021! My word is Now. I spend so much time bashing myself for past mistakes or fretting over what may never happen, instead of allowing myself to rest in Now. Now is where I need to be, not Then or When, just Now. And I'm finding more peace as I focus on Now too. :) I pray you have a blessed 2021!

    I'm hoping to write/finish writing three first drafts and possibly start a fouth one before the year is up. The first three are the first three books of my fairytale retelling series, of which I'm currently writing book 1 and have also written a bit of book 3 before I knew it was book 3. The fourth is the sequel to my epic fantasy series. And I'm also planning on reading 75 books. *wonders how long till I realize this is probably not going to happen* Anyway, I think I'm finding out that I need to shoot past the stars to reach the atmosphere at least. XD


  6. Um, better late than never, right?
    Awesome goals! Certainly trying to reach them is better than nothing, right? Cheering you on! And that quote for the year is such a good one! 100% agree on what you said about focusing on the now! It is so important, so easily push away by mistakes of the past and worries of the future.
    Yeah, I can relate to wanting to read all of the posts from all of the amazing blogs and just not finding the time. *sobs*
    Yeah, I need to read more indie myself. My read list is lacking indie books so much and it makes me sad since I know there are many good ones out there! The main two I want to read this year are 100 days of Sunlight by Abbie Emmons and How We Rise by Brooke Riley.
    Also, funny thing here, I plan to read the books on my shelf too! It is like a goal of mine for 2021.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Lol, YES. Absolutely! XD

      Oh my goodness, thank you! I’m still rearranging and trying to figure out the nitty gritty of timelines and such in order for me to … you know … actually complete them all. XD (*laughs nervously*)

      OH MY GOODNESS, YES. It’s so difficult! And finding the balance between spending time offline and getting caught up on everything ONline is just…. *screams into the void for three years*

      Ohhhh, I’ve read 100 Days of Sunlight! I was actually an ARC reader for that one, and DUDE. It was INCREDIBLE. Highly recommend! (and the Blood Race series by her sister, K.A. Emmons is just as incredible!)

      Ooh, really??? Dude, I’d love to hear your progress throughout the course of the year! I’m planning on trying to post more about bookishness, so hopefully I can keep y’all updated on my shelf reading progress. XD

      Liked by 1 person

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