Hello, lovely readers. It’s that terrible time of year again, where people make resolutions, determined to challenge themselves in new ways each day. I say terrible because for me it tends to be like that. I try not to stress myself out with resolutions I know I can’t keep. Instead I make small goals that can definitely be accomplished once I stop showing my cat YouTube videos.
I really slacked off with writing and posting these last few months, because of various personal reasons. I feel fortunate, though, that I have good friends that managed to drag me out of it.
In the writing department, though, I am pleased that I started a new story. I tend to write shorter thing. I love short stories and flash fiction. So working on a novel can be a bit harder for me. I was pleased when I started my NaNoWriMo project and was able to see how it could develop into something larger. Even though I didn’t hit the word count, I am proud of what I started.
The one goal I did manage to accomplish last year was my reading challenge. I might have strayed from the monthly themes towards the end of the year, but I didn’t slow down. I managed to read 34 books last year(it would have been 35 because I was so close but then New Years happened and I had to cook these meatballs).
I am proud of my reading goal, not because of the amount of books I read, but because of the variety. I read classics and anthologies, as well as self-published and books that were published just last year. I’ve come to realize how important reading is to me as a writer. I feel like since I pushed myself to read different genres and stories I wouldn’t normally read, I’ve become a better writer. I feel like I’ve talked to hundreds of different people, and gotten to see a hundred different points of view. It’s made me think about what I’m writing, change the view point of the story and see where this new direction will take me.
Books that changed me (well, at least this year):
Last year a coworker sent me a reading challenge, which started this whole reading madness for the year.
For the month of April, I decided to go statewide in terms of local authors. I, of course, knew how I felt about Indiana, so I was curious to see how other Indiana writers would portray the state. I originally checked out around 12 books from the library that month, but ended up settling on 5 of them. My favorite one that month was The Starlite Drive-In by Marjorie Reynolds. She wrote about a small town in a was that, much to my surprise, wasn’t boring. She showed that the people in those towns have depth and dreams. There’s ups and downs in small towns. It’s a way of life that not many people understand or care to read about. But it made sense to me. It made me think of my own childhood, of spending summers in town, and my first double date at a drive-in. It made me realize that I should be proud to write about Indiana. That it’s not the state that’s boring, it’s all in the description of it.
February’s challenge brought a book recommended by a friend. I have so many friend recommendations that it’s hard to even begin making a list. So I picked a book that my brother recommended. My big brother is not a reader, but he heard about this book and called me to see if I’d heard about it. I found it a used book store and tried to give it to him, but he wouldn’t take it. He said he can’t sit down a read an entire book. He wanted me to read it. So, two years later, I read The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein. I know many people, myself included, are hesitant to take on a book about a dog because we all know how these things end. But I was very happy with the book. Enzo was written not like a dog, but as a person. He felt things, and then I felt for him, and then I cried a little because his story was beautiful.
February also brought a book that has ended up being a new favorite for me. Having a favorite book is sort of a big deal to me. I don’t make favorites easily. But sometimes I find a book that moves me so much that I can’t stop thinking about it. When I first read the description for The Gargoyle, I thought that it might have some humor and be a bit fun. Anything starting out with a porn star in a wild accident is bound to be interesting, right? But this book immediately proved me wrong. It stuck in my head. There were several times that I had to take a break from the book. I’d have to put the book down for an hour, just so I could process what I had read. I could feel myself holding my breath as I read, so enthralled by Marianne that I couldn’t wait for her to tell more of her story. As I grew closer to the end of the book, I could feel myself getting more nervous. I wanted the story to keep going. Andrew Davidson had created these incredible characters that were beautiful and flawed. My heart hurt for them when I read about the lives together. Once I finished the book, I wanted to tell everyone to read it. I suggested it to everyone I knew, hoping they would be as moved as I was.
New writing goals:
I spent most of last year working on being a better reader. I think it’s time now to use what I’ve read and focus on my writing.
My goals this year are pretty simple. I’m going to act like a real writer. To me that means keeping track of how much I’m writing, and making time every day to add on to my monthly word count. I downloaded a sexy new Thor word tracker and I have a fun new planner to keep myself on track, as well as an automatic coffee maker that wakes me up with the smell of fresh coffee every day. I also got this awesome salt lamp for Christmas, which means I’ll probably be sitting in the dark, staring at my salt lamp for inspiration by mid-year. What else could a writer need besides coffee and a salt lamp?
The obvious goal is to finish both books I’m working on, but I also hope to post on here more than once every 3 months. I can totally do this.
For now, though, it’s time for bed.
Thanks for reading! Don’t forget to find me on Twitter where I’m usually questioning why there’s no donut delivery system in this city.