New Year's Resolutions

Hard to believe but a new year is upon us. I will have to get used to writing 2004 on letters, checks, etc. I am not usually one for resolutions but this year I have been thinking about goals for the new year and I thought I would share my book/writing goals with you.

– My first goal is to raise the quality and seriousness of my writing. I don’t mean that I won’t have fun or post off-the-cuff remarks here. I just want to work on writing some more formal and serious pieces. I need to challenge myself to work harder in order to learn more and to improve my skills.

– Related to the above, I would like to have at least one article or book review published. This could be online or in paper format but it must be a venue that is beyond a blog format or voluntary posting. The piece should need to be approved by an editor or peer review. This basically an outgrowth of the need to focus and hone my writing. I want to prove to myself that I can achieve something. I don’t want this blog to become an excuse to always take the easy way out. I don’t see myself becoming a professional writer but I want to set some goals that require work.

– I do have some goals for this site as well. Besides increasing the quality and seriousness of the posts here, I would like to increase the traffic as well. I hope the two are connected. I am not looking for this to become the hottest site on the net but I find it more satisfying to know that you are writing for an audience larger than could fit in your living room. I would like to see this site become a place people can come to knowing they will find interesting, thought provoking, and well written posts. If I can write more, and at a higher level, while increasing the exposure of the site on the net, I think traffic will follow.

– In order to write and write well I will need subject material. In 2003 I read 50 books in a wide variety of subjects. In 2004 my goal is to focus my reading on a few subjects. I am a fickle person so I will always stray from this focus to a degree but some guidelines are valuable. Here are some areas I plan to concentrate on:
— It is a presidential year so I am looking to spend some time reading presidential biography and commentary. The American Presidents Series will be a large source in this area.
— Unfortunately, it is also a season of war. I plan to read a number of works that relate to war; both current and past. A few examples would be: The Savage Wars of Peace by Max Boot, Robert Kaplan’s Warrior Politics, and Victor Davis Hanson’s Carnage and Culture.
— In the realm of fiction, I am seeking to read more classic novels. Of the Modern Library’s 100 Greatest English Language Novels I have only read a dozen. I hope to improve on that this year. A while back I happened to come upon a cache of highly discounted volumes of the Everyman’s Library series. As a result I have the following on my shelf to be read: To the Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf, Bellow’s The Adventures of Augie March, Catch-22 by Joseph Heller, and dauntingly Faulkner’s The Sound and the Fury. If this bold gambit continues perhaps I will throw in some Henry James, James Joyce, and E.M. Forster.
— Last but not least I will continue to read lighthearted fantasy and even children’s literature. I bought the The Spiderwick Chronicles books for a friends kid and just for fun plan to read them myself. I am sure I will come upon others like this that I will want to read.

So that is a glimpse into where I see myself headed in The Year of Our Lord Two Thousand and Four. As always comments, questions, thoughts, ideas, complaints, and links welcome.


Kevin Holtsberry
I work in communications and public affairs. I try to squeeze in as much reading as I can while still spending time with my wife and two kids (and cheering on the Pittsburgh Steelers and Michigan Wolverines during football season).


  1. Kevin,
    I am new to blogging. I went to your post to see what it was about. I liked your resolution to read more classic novels, as I have similar aspirations. I looked at the Modern Library top 100. Several mssing authors suprised me: Leo Tolstoy, Fydor Dostoevsky, Jane Austen, etc. I wonder if this is ModLib’s way of promoting product? BTW I read only 13 on the list, some of the, you read. I see you hope to read Catch 22. I hope you enjoy it. I really did.
    HNY, BA

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