I have a problem. I buy books. Too many books. I measure things I want in books – specifically – used books. As in – I’d love to buy the latest tablet but that’d be like two hundred and eighty used books.
I’d rather have the books.
Thus as an avid book fan and reader and writer of them I submit this thought to you during this beautiful reading month of March.
My Latest Reading Voyage
A lot of luster can be lost on reading when we turn to the same old self-help, western, romance, fantasy, and classic author. Yes, even classics can get dull when that is all we read. I once heard an interview (posted somewhere on this blog) where author Neil Gaiman said Tolkien didn’t read fantasy books, he read books on Old Norse and Finnish philology and it helped him, obviously, write books of his own flavor.
As you think of what book you may devour this month go out of the way. Despise ordinary and go on a distant hunt, far away from your normal go to genre as possible. If you read fiction only by male writers get a non-fiction book written by a female like Madeleine L’Engle’s A Circle of Quiet. If you only read romances check out H. G. Well’s The Time Machine.
We all have different tastes but reading the usual suspects is akin to going to the same restaurant and ordering the same thing. There are millions of books out there. Good ones. I wrote an article last year published here about how Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein changed my life. It was pure accident and I am forever grateful for it.
So go out there and read. Challenge your mind with a new flavor of novel. If you want a suggestion ask below. If you have already decided please share. I love learning about new authors.
It’s Monday. Most greet it with a resounding Ugh. But do we have to?
This is what I love about an unspoiled week. We can have a new outlook and a new opinion just because the calendar says so. Change can be had and we shouldn’t waste it.
This week can be the most productive writing week you’ve had in ages.
This week you can update your resume.
This week you can arrange a get together with friends and share life.
You can do whatever it is you long to do.
There are a billion possibilities out there and opportunity is ripe for improvement and growth.
It’s up to us.
What sort of week do you plan on having?
Three years ago my writers group had a crazy idea. Hey let’s throw a writers conference. At first, it was cute. What did we know about launching a conference? Four conferences later, around two hundred and fifty people have attended Jot.
Regular attendees are budding poets and professional novelists. We’ve kept the conference free thanks to Baker Books House and the donations of time from the Weaklings writers group and gracious local authors.
This installment of Jot is tremendously exciting. We have an award winning illustrator and children’s book writer, an owner of a literary agency, a newly published novelist, and an established writer that volunteered their time to share with you what they know.
After the presentations there will be an opportunity to write in the cozy store or coffee shop or attend one of three workshops.
It’s a time to learn, meet, and write.
It’s on March, 13th at 7pm-11pm at Baker Book House.
Consider this an open invitation.
Hop to see you there.
Have you ever sat down at dinner and thought hey, I’m not actually that hungry? I’ve done this before too. Usually, it is the result of a snack at work during the afternoon hours but I just eat anyway.
Occasionally, I go to bed without having exercised or worked hard at something. Sure I give a great effort at work but at times, my sleep does not feel earned.
If I am chasing my writing dream with relentlessness, Should I not feel utter exhaustion from time to time?
This past Saturday I rose at 530am to address that very thing and get some writing done. I used to do this before I had children and I felt I needed to do something drastic to keep my writing momentum going and consistently chase my dream.
Over the last week, I’ve been my most productive in months and I wanted to keep the momentum going and not stop because of the weekend.
So, I’m exhausted. But it’s not the exhaustion from the winter months it is exhaustion of the active, from the chase. Its energy spent on my dream. If that’s not worth getting up at 5 or 530, I’m not sure what is.
How far would you go to launch that company, finish that novel, or start that job search?
If it’s what you want to do (in respect to you responsibilities) it’s time to do what Red said in The Shawshank Redemption – Get busy livin’ or get busy dyin’.
Go and get exhausted. Give all you got.
I am the king of Post-it notes. They are on my wallet, my cell phone, and there is one on my computer now. Somehow, I always find myself with a billion ideas and no way to collect them all.
Sure, I could put them in a note book and squint at them later or store them in a word file or Google document that I’ll never open, but I wanted to SEE them. I wanted to be able to lay them down side by side and also track my writing progress.
Thus enter my favorite writing tool – my white board.
My wife was at the office supply store and discovered they were wicked cheap and on sale. I’d love a nice frosted glass, trendy one, but I’d also like to not change my one year olds’ diapers. I have to understand what is necessary and what is me just wanting a cool new toy.
The reality is that having that writing software/tool is not going to make me better. Working hard consistently is. And now I have a place to keep track of my progress and flesh out ideas thanks to my wonderful bride.
I’ve hung the white board next to my bed so I can review tasks every day before I go to sleep and remind myself of upcoming goals and deadlines. I can also gaze at it as I doze off and make a mental note to get up early and get to work.
What is your favorite writing tool? How do you stay organized and on top of your tasks?
It starts as a whisper.
“Daddy, I need some orange juice.”
I look over to see my three year old daughter Clara trying to be politely quiet as she wakes me from my all too short slumber. It is then I realize that I hit either hit the snooze button or turned it off and I get up with her to watch Wild Kratts and snuggle.
I cherish my time with my kids but I kick myself for being too good intention-ed. I always mean to wake up earlier, which means, I meant to go to bed earlier. I can’t seem to choose either so I choose end up choosing neither.
Jon Acuff writes in one of his books (Either Quitter or Start) that it is best to pursue your passion in the morning. I agree. But I also hate him for this.
When I write in the morning I carry the euphoric thrill of having chased my dream. This in turn fuels my day job. There have been many times that I am too mentally drained and plain tired from work to chase my dream at night. Then I make up some stupid mental agreement like – “Yeah but I’ll write 1000 words in the morning!” Which is usually followed by mental cursing because I read until 12:30am by accident.
All of this starts by not making my morning quiet time/writing time a priority. Thus a failure. But this constant failure and striving I hope to beat my body into submission where it is no longer a chore to rise early.
How do you create that writing time friend?
What tricks have you used to, er, trick yourself into your morning writing routine?
Until tomorrow morning…