Plan for 2020: Reading, Writing, and Quiet Activism

Feature photo © 2020 Samantha Mayes

I never make New Year’s Resolutions, but I wanted to give everyone an update on my reading, writing, and quiet activism plans for 2020. Plus cookie related plans. I can’t guarantee I’ll get everything done. For my 2019 PopSugar Reading Challenge, I only finished reading 36 books out of 50 book prompts. I had a mental health crisis last year that I’m still recovering from. Here’s what I’d like to do in 2020 to keep me coping.

Make Cookies from New Recipes

I’ve already made my first batch: a yummy Lembas bread recipe. It was a big success. But I must have some hobbit in me, because the Lembas did not sustain me for more than a few hours.

Lembas Bread made by Jan L. Mayes

Focus on Fiction Writing

I’m working on my paranormal mystery novel and an illustrated anthology of short horror paranormal stories. The problem is beta readers. I have a wonderful group of non-fiction beta readers. Lovely kind folk. But squeamish. They blanch at the mere mention of blood. They find my dark fictional imagination too disturbing.

So I’m looking for a few fiction beta readers made of firmer stuff. How hard can it be to find a beta reader or two interested in strange short stories…like what happens to newlywed husbands in a zombie apocalypse or whether love can be found in a library?

Finish the 2020 PopSugar Reading Challenge

For PopSugar Challenges, you have to read books that fit specific 2020 prompts listed at I set up a shelf for 2020 at my Jan L. Mayes – Author Goodreads Page and am tracking progress at my blog link 2020 POPSUGAR Reading Challenge Progress.

I blame my 2019 PopSugar fail on poor book choices. I tried to use paperbacks for some of the challenges, but couldn’t get through them because of my vision issues. This year I’m going to use eBooks as much as possible. I’m also going to try harder to find books I really want to read for each prompt.

I think this year’s prompts will again push me to read a broader range of books. I was surprised how many of my own books fit the 2020 prompts. For example, one prompt is to read a book with a book image on the cover like Regretfully Invited. Perhaps you’re stalking a book with a 3 word title or an anthology prompt like the Doctor Bell Anthology of horrifying fictional Tinnitus Terror Tales. If you’re looking for a book that won an award in 2019, my non-fiction Tinnitus Toolbox Hyperacusis Handbook won a 2019 International Book Award in Health: General. It’s also by/about a woman in STEM. (Humble apologies for preceding blatant self promotion).

Image © Jan L. Mayes

Quiet Activist Volunteering

In 2019, I tried to do too much too fast as a volunteer quiet activist. It didn’t help that a doctor prescription error dungeoned me deep with depression. I’m not recovered to how I was coping in 2018. But I’d like to get back to the excitement I was feeling at doing something positive against public noise pollution.

For 2020, I’m planning to write up some hearing health related articles and try submitting them to national and international journals. I also hope to get back to volunteering in a manageable way. Doing small amounts of quiet activist writing or activities, step by step, no rushing, no self-imposed pressure. If it turns stressful or negative, I will graciously bow out and focus on other hobbies.

Will keep you posted.


What do you think?