2021 Writing Goals and Why I DNF Books (#IWSG Jan 2021)

Posted January 6, 2021 in Creative Writing / 4 Comments


Happy New Year! I hope you had a good holiday period even if it wasn’t the same as usual. We had a quiet Christmas and didn’t see our family in person, but we were grateful for the opportunity to video call them. We also celebrated my daughter’s 5th birthday and spent a lot of time relaxing and watching Christmas films.

The best thing that happened during the Christmas period was that we adopted a new kitten named Loki. He certainly lives up to his namesake, the god of mischief!

The UK has now gone into our third National Lockdown, so I am mostly working at home for the next 6 weeks. It’s proving quite challenging for my husband and I to deliver online lessons whilst also helping our daughter with her school work, but I’m sure we will muddle through.

My 2021 Writing Goals

My main goal this year is to finish the first draft of my novel. I have been working on it for ages now but never actually completed the first draft as I’ve rewritten the first part so many times and keep changing details of the plot and characters. I feel like I need to reach my goal word count this year or it’s just never going to happen now, so this year is make or break!

  • Finish the first draft of my Alice in Wonderland retelling novel (by end of Nov)
  • Finish my A Midsummer Night’s Dream retelling story (by end of Dec)
  • Finish my “Honey, I Shrunk the Humans” comedy fantasy story (by end of Dec)
  • Take part in all 6 Write…Edit…Publish challenges.
  • Get at least one more short story published in an anthology.

Why I DNF Books

This month’s optional question:

Being a writer, when you’re reading someone else’s work, what stops you from finishing a book/throws you out of the story/frustrates you the most about other people’s books?


I’m happy to say that this is a rare occurrence for me. I’m usually in awe of other writers’ work and learn a lot from it. I’m also quite a stubborn person and hate leaving things unfinished, so I don’t very often stop reading a book half-way through. There has to be quite a big problem for me to mark it as “DNF” (Did Not Finish).

The thing that bothers me the most is if the book is littered with spelling and grammar errors. I don’t pretend for a moment to be perfect at this myself; you can probably spot more than a few errors in this post! But I do expect published books (whether traditionally or self-published) to be professionally edited. One or two typos are not a problem for me, but if there are lots of errors then I get distracted and just start editing the book in my head rather than enjoying the story!

Another issue that would result in an instant DNF is if I felt the author was openly promoting racism, sexism, homophobia or transphobia. It’s scary how many of those books still get published. I am interested in reading about these topics if they are well-researched and respectful to the communities they are representing. But if the book is supporting a harmful, bigoted ideology then it is definitely not for me!

Finally, sometimes I just can’t bring myself to finish a book because it’s boring me to tears. It doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a terrible book, just that it’s not capturing my attention for whatever reason. I usually persevere up to a point, but when it begins to feel like a chore then it’s time to set it aside and move on.


The Insecure Writer's Support Group badge. This month's topic is writing rituals.

The Insecure Writer’s Support Group post on the first Wednesday of every month. We want to help writers of all stages to overcome their insecurities, and by offering encouragement we are creating a community of support.

This month’s awesome co-hosts are: Ronel Janse van Vuuren , J Lenni Dorner, Gwen Gardner Sandra Cox, and Louise – Fundy Blue!


How was your Christmas and New Year? What are your main goals (writing related or other) for 2021? What puts you off finishing a book? Let me know in the comments!


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4 responses to “2021 Writing Goals and Why I DNF Books (#IWSG Jan 2021)

  1. I love Loki. Sweet, sweet boy. Our son had a puppy named Loki and he was aptly named:)
    Looks like 2021 is going to be a busy writing year for you. Wishing you all the best.
    Your header is marvelous.

    • WEP is brilliant. There is a flash fiction prompt every couple of months and there are always such diverse interpretations of the theme. I highly recommend it.

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