• Stephanie Koetsier

2022...where I'm at

Before I begin, I would just like to say that I hope everyone has had an incredible Christmas, New Year and general holiday season!

The closing of one year and the beginning of another is always cause for reflection, but this year I actually reflected on the whole reflecting process...and decided that I wanted to be different this year. I'm not going to beat myself up over who I'm not, and I'm not going to make resolutions that I know I won't be able to keep. Why would I want to start my new year off that way, essentially just setting myself up to be disappointed in myself? I'm not saying I don't have goals. But my overarching goal this year is plain and simple: to just be happy. We all know that the past two years haven't been great, and we don't need any more reminders of that either, so I'm putting it out there that this year is going to be one of positivity, growth and success. But equally, I think we all owe it to ourselves to stop being so hard on ourselves. We've been through a lot, let's just try and do whatever makes us happy as individuals.

I've set some mini goals, ones that are definitely achievable and that will motivate me throughout the year for goals I've always had, not just new year whims. Some I'll share on here, others I won't, purely as some aren't relevant to what I blog about - and that's another thing.

Blogging. I've dipped in and out of it for a while. I'm not sure many people actually read blogs anymore, what with the world of YouTube, TikTok and Instagram, but I still enjoy actually writing my thoughts down, and reading others' thoughts too. So yes, I plan on being back on the blogging this year, but not putting the pressure on to write three posts a week, every week at noon. I'm going to be casual in my blogging, writing when I have something to write about, and reminding myself that I started out on this blog purely to have fun and to document the cool things I was doing, book wise or travel wise.

I do have some intentions for my blog, content-wise, that I wanted to set out and let you know about for the new year ahead.

For Christmas, I kindly received a Historic Scotland Explorer pass from my boyfriend's family, for him and I to travel around Scotland. It basically gives you free entry into all of the Historic Scotland sites around the country (yes, best gift ever) so I plan on really making use out of that and visiting as many sites as I can! So what a better year to revive the Scotland Travel portion of my blog (in the meantime, you can go back and read some of my old posts here). Plus it will make great research for my novel, as my writing is inspired by all things Scotland!

I also received, from my own parents, a holiday to Italy. It is not normal for us to gift each other holidays or anything of that magnitude so I was truly blown away. It's been my dream since I was 10 to travel to Italy, so yes I cried a bit. And yes, I really would love to blog about that too over on the Travel portion of the blog.

But let's not forget the main purpose of this blog - books! Reading them and writing them. As someone who studied English Literature at university, it really baffles me how little classic literature I've still actually read, so that's something I plan on working on in the new year. I have a small collection of leather-bound Canterbury Classics (if you're a book lover/collector and have never heard of them then you have to Google them right now, apologies in advance to your bank account!) and I would love to be able to say I've actually read them all rather than just use them as pretty display pieces.

So the books I have in my collection so far are: The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (I actually have read quite a bit of Shakespeare but I would like to be able to say I've read all his works because I love him), Les Miserables, The Phantom of the Opera and Other Gothic Tales, Le Morte D'Arthur, Brother's Grimm Fairytales and Classic Works from Women Writers. There are also a lot of other classics in general I would love to read and that's my main focus reading wise this year (although there are a lot of newly-released fantasy novels that I will definitely not be able to resist).

Then there's me writing my own book! The biggest ambition of mine, and one I've had even before I wanted to go to Italy. I can't tell you for how long I've dreamed of being a published author, and this year I hope to be a whole lot closer to making that a reality. If you've followed me on Twitter for a while then you'll know I finished my first draft last year. I'm currently on the editing stage, which is mostly weeding out consistency errors, fixing the structure and filling in any plot holes I see. I've set myself a date for that to be completed by - February 5th - and I've brought out my old, trusty whiteboard to help keep me on track (and schedule my entire writing life for the next few weeks). So far I've kept on top of it, and it's actually been a lot more fun bizarrely scheduling it and has broken it down into a lot more manageable pieces. I'm also starting to see it come together as a proper story, you know one that reads like an actual novel, and it honestly does make me feel very proud of myself - something we should all learn to say a bit more about ourselves!

So that's that. My blog intentions - travel round Scotland and visit EVERYWHERE, go to Italy (yay), read more classics and get my novel ready for contacting agents and publishers! I'm feeling really good about 2022 and what it will mean for me, and I'm excited to turn my dreams into plans that'll make them realities!

As far as promoting my blog posts throughout the year, I only have a Twitter account on socials - @WordsOfKoetsier - and I again am going to treat it more casually. That is, I've actually deleted the app off my phone to avoid doom scrolling and wasting time doing it, BUT I will make a reappearance at the end of every month to recap the blog posts I've posted during that month. Again, I had to remind myself this year that this blog was meant only as a bit of fun, as a space for me to jot down my random ideas on books, writing and travel. I'm looking forward to taking it back for myself this year and making it just that: fun.

Classic Stephanie ramble over now. I hope you all are having a great start to the new year and are feeling ready, motivated and positive to achieve your own goals! Thanks for taking the time to read my blog, and hopefully see you here again soon.

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