Here I blog about writing, editing, reading, books, submissions, freelancing, getting published (and rejected), journalism, revisions, life after the MFA, teaching writing, and living the writer's life. Welcome. BUT -- if you are a writer: Write first, read blogs second.




Tuesday, January 10, 2017

I Resolve to...Read. And read and read and read and read

This past Sunday, at an event labeled "Resolve to Write," a bunch of local writers met to rev their writing engines for the year ahead. As part of my role as an instructor/workshop leader with The Writers Circle, I led the group. It was great fun to help other writers identify and clarify goals for the year, share challenges, and discuss successful strategies for time management, creativity, and getting past the constant procrastination allure of just having to do this one more thing before I sit down to write

I came away, I believe, as energized as the participants. Resolved to write more.

The year started for me though, with a slightly different but related self-imposed mandate: I'm resolved to read more in 2017. A lot more. And especially, more books that are not required reading for my teaching duties. Authors whose craft I admire. Books that sound like fun. Books to disappear in, lean on, learn from, laugh along with, linger among. Just more reading. More.

As always, my bookshelves, the to-be-read pile, the coffee table, the night table, my writing table, are all overflowing with books. So much to choose from…and more arrive weekly. I just can't help myself.

Two years ago, I resurrected my habit, begun in early childhood, of keeping a list of each book I read during a calendar year. This year, for even more motivation, I signed up for the GoodReads 2017 Reading Challenge. My goal is 65 books for the year; last year, I logged 43 completed books on my raggedy list (with five started but not finished). And I know I had some not-reading-anything days, so 65 seemed modest, but enough to keep me going. Maybe, I'll even exceed it.

Sometime during college, I fell out of the habit of listing "Books I Read 19XX" in a notebook. Mom kept report cards and my Girl Scout books until I'd married, and when I went through her things after she'd passed, I found all the Mother's Day cards I'd ever sent her. But no book lists. How I'd love to see and handle those notebooks again!

Though my GoodReads lists will be online somewhere, and my own private (duplicate, I guess) list will live in Excel-land, I'm toying with a paper notebook list too. Just want to see if it yields the same satisfaction as it did oh so many years ago.

If you're interested in setting up your own 2017 reading challenge, I'd love to hear!


1 comment:

Cathy said...

To write better we read. To live better we write and read - for love of the written word. To sign up for the Goodreads Challenge is genius and I hope you reach your goal.

I, like you, read so much that's pertinent to my job. At the end of the day, my eyes are bleary from reading so much health-related genre. I miss my stacks and stacks of lonely looking fiction and non-fiction books that have nothing whatsoever to do with health!

You've inspired me, Lisa. P.S. One of these days I'd love to sign up for one of your classes!