Wow. I read back through my last two posts and I sound depressed (to myself, I have no idea what I sound like to other people). :D
I haven’t posted in a while, because I just haven’t wanted to. I haven’t been writing either. Just needed a break, maybe? Whatever it was, I think it’s come to an end. I’ve been tinkering with my books again, writing every day, and making time for some household stuff I’ve been ignoring for months.
In the mean time (during the no writing phase of this year), I’ve been reading. My reading list of fiction is up to 384 novels/short stories for 2020. That number, as always, misses some stuff, because I inevitably forget to write down everything I’ve read, and because I had to cobble together the number of stories I read during part of the year from Calibre and can’t include those I deleted during May–July 25 when I decided I wasn’t going to write them down anymore and then regretted it. Because I did regret it! (I don’t know how many I deleted but I only save stuff that I liked enough to possibly want to read again.)
As for posting, I don’t really miss it. I’m not sure when or if I’ll pick it back up, but it’ll be when I need it. As for right now, I’m content as is! :D
As I said in my last post, I seem to be feeling better today (those sleep habits coming into play again) so I’m expecting myself to get some real writing done today.
Luckily I woke up feeling good today and hopeful and even a little inspired so maybe I’m getting there. :-)
I’ve had a little visit from project block and normally I’d just move to another story for a while but this book is expected and I haven’t finished it yet. Since I gotta make a living, I need to work on this book, and lo and behold, that has added pressure to the writing that I don’t need—or deal well with.
I have to trick myself into changing my mindset and that’s actually pretty hard to do—although not impossible.
I’m also really not in the mood to write. And when there’s no one but me telling me I have to do this, well, we all know self-imposed deadlines and threats and promises of rewards are very unlikely to work for long. :D
They help, sometimes, but they’re no magic cure.
I just do not like writing when I’m not in a writing mood. I get bored with reading too sometimes. Like right now, I keep starting books, getting about a chapter in, and dumping them. Nothing satisfies, and I can’t concentrate on a book long enough to care.
Some of these books would probably have been perfectly fun to read, and I expect I’ll come back to some of them later. Some of them just aren’t for me and I’ll never read them. Those I’ve already deleted. Why bother keeping a book I don’t like? I’m sure not going to force myself to read them later. I couldn’t even force myself to read bad books in high school when my grades depended on it. Luckily, I was good enough at bullshitting my way through those reports and papers to do okay anyway. :D
Here’s a funny story. One of those books was The Hobbit. It’s a fantasy classic, but I just could not get into that book. I’ve never read the Lord of the Rings trilogy, although I liked the movies very much. I’ve tried, don’t get me wrong, but ugh. It was torture! But I love fantasy. I’ve read The Belgariad (ten books, plus extras) too many times to count. Those are some of my most read books.
I start books, put bookmarks in where I stopped (if it’s a printed book), and go back sometimes years later and finish them. Sometimes I never finish them. And lots of the time, once I restart, I have no idea why I stopped reading them.
I don’t go back and re-read the stuff I’ve already read. I just pick up where I left off because I usually remember everything once I’m a few pages in again. Lots of people can’t do that. But, I’ve said it before, people are different. That’s one of my superpowers. :D
Right now, I’m barely reading. I’m just not in the mood for that either.
I think I’ve said it before, somewhere probably buried within the site, that reading tends to be my bellwether for where I am creatively speaking, and if I’m not in the mood to read I’m almost never in the mood to write.
But if I gave in to my moods all the time, I’d be—wait. I kind of am poor at the moment. :D
The sad fact is, I don’t really care. When I don’t want to write, I don’t write.
Getting past that is indescribably hard. I’ll suffer a lot to keep from doing things I don’t want to do—a lot more than most people would be willing to suffer, for sure.
I binge write mostly. The same way I binge read. I want to establish a routine that will help me write more, but I only want that because I want to be more prolific. :D It’s kind of a pie-in-the-sky dream but I am doing things to help it become a reality.
My daily writing streak is now 170 days long. That’s an improvement over my former record of 122 days.
My January word count is 19,676 words (publishable only, anything I deleted hit my word count as a negative). So I’m currently at my second best January word count since I started keeping up in 2012 and that’s with nine days to go in the month.
Small wins. :D I’ll take ’em.
Right now I’m in the situation of needing to write when I’m really not in the mood and my natural inclination is not to care enough to do anything about it.
I spend a lot of time trying to get past that by introducing other things to my writing that I find exciting or motivating: challenges, goals, rewards, talking myself around, blogging until I’m sick of it, running numbers in my spreadsheets, doing what-if analysis, imaging what could happen if I did this much writing or that much publishing, etc.
The goal of the daily writing streak was to help me get over the hump of inertia when I lose interest in writing for a while. That has worked on one level, but not as much as I’d hoped.
Yesterday, I had a little fun running some numbers to assess the effectiveness of the streak.
Over the 169 days of daily writing, I wrote 125,202 words.
Over the 169 days prior to the streak, I wrote 132,296 words.
BUT the 169 days covering the same time last year (and the year before and year before, etc.) shows the streak has probably made a difference overall.
Over the previous years’ same time periods, I averaged 35,225 words less than the current streak period, and not one of those periods had a higher word count than this one.
Yay! I’m glad to know it has helped at least in that regard.
Now if it would just make me want to write more than I want to write, since I totally want to write more than I’m writing! ;)
There’s probably a reason December and January are usually my slow months. And to be honest, I’ve actually done really well this year. I’m currently on track (extrapolating this month’s daily word count to the whole month) for this to become my 21st best month out of 91 months of tracking even if I keep trudging along and don’t improve any more than I’ve already improved. That’s nothing to sneeze at. :)
It just goes to show that for those of us who find routine difficult and boredom a mind-killer (and a will- and motivation-killer too) that you don’t have to accept that as the status quo. You can still improve if you find something that keeps you moving, even if you’re feeling like you’re moving through molasses (it happened, 1919!).
What I need is a big exciting idea to pop into my head and save me from this bored-with-everything phase I’m in. ;-)
Truly, if I had a choice, I wouldn’t write on any story right now. I’d just hole up and do absolutely nothing productive whatsoever.
But I will keep trying to move forward and get it done anyway. :D
Because there’s poor, and then there’s poor. I’d rather avoid the second one. ;)
On that note, I’m going to go stare at my book and write the next sentence and see where I end up today. :)
Since I’d rather not revisit this long post later, I named it Part one and will post my end of the day accountability post in Part two.
I use feedly to keep up with blogs and magazines that interest me, and Pocket to keep articles for later reading, and I still do a lot of reading in my web browser on my phone and at the computer, too. I don’t do much of this reading on my tablets, but that’s because if I have a tablet in hand, I’m usually either reading a book, or I’m proofreading one of my own books. :D
A newer follow is an advocate of the “writing should be fun and don’t let the critical voice get in your way” philosophy of writing, one I happen to follow myself.
In one of the author’s recent entries, the author mentions speed (a topic I have written at length about here on the site in one post or another), bringing up the 1,000 words an hour thing.
(Who started the myth that to be a pro you need to write 1,000 words an hour or consider yourself inadequate? I’m going to have to go looking for that one day, just to see if I can figure it out.)
I happen to wish I wrote at 1,000 words an hour with any kind of consistency at all but, alas, I do not. My brain just isn’t wired that way, and I’ve only finally come to that conclusion in the last year or three, after trying for many, many years to write faster.
Have I mentioned that I’ve been writing fiction since I was a teenager (pre-teen, even) and that I was a teenager when Quantum Leap was a first run show? Yeah, it’s been a while. :D
Anyway, I feel like I do have enough lifetime experience to know myself in this, and I am sad to say that 1,000 words an hour is a blazing fast speed to me, and I reach it only in the most intense writing sessions. Some writers are blessed to be able to get their thoughts in order and get them down in a coherent fashion at speed. I am apparently not one of those writers.
I make do.
I don’t get to write for 1–3 hours a day and call it done—it’s certainly more like 8-10 for me if I can keep myself sitting still for that long. But I’m okay with that. I enjoy what I do, and I have fun with my characters and I don’t spend much time anymore comparing myself to other people.
The number one thing that gets in the heads of most writers is that tendency to compare themselves to other writers.
Don’t do it. Really. You aren’t likely to find anything good at the end of that rainbow. :)
And if you don’t write at the blazing fast speed of 1,000 words an hour, but you enjoy your writing, and you aren’t slowing down because you think you need to fix things and are cycling back through your text excessively, then really, really don’t let the myth of the 1,000 words an hour writer get in your head.
That’s all. :D
Now, I’m going to go write my book. I’ll probably get a few short bursts in that reach 1,000 words an hour, but by the end of the day, I’ll probably be in the 500 words an hour range, as usual. :)
But I’m going to get lost in my story, and I’m going to have fun anyway.
First, this is a little all over the place, because I tried three different times to write it, and between the start of it and the finish, I searched for and found a way to get what I wanted from my journaling. I also learned a little self-acceptance along the way.
At the start of the year, I decided to change the way I used my journals. I wanted to find a way to organize them, to group stuff together, and to make all my little notes much easier to find in the long run.
So I spent a few weeks jotting down ideas but I couldn’t come up with anything that might actually work for me.
My original idea was to use separate journals for the different parts of my life. That really didn’t work. Although the parts of my life can be organized into categories (writing, publishing, reading, hobbies, family, etc), the way I think about those things is pretty messy. I never seemed to be able to settle on which journal to use for which thing and all my messy thoughts kept bleeding over from one journal / notebook to another.
I wanted to fill separate books with separate things, but every time I tried, my mind started reminding me how I really think.
I have seven eight journals / notebooks on my desk right now that are in various stages of being filled. What’s inside is a mishmash of thoughts, lists, and ideas. There is no rhyme or reason for what goes in one or the other even though I intended for there to be when I started filling each one of them.
One such journal was meant for my goals. It now has notes on edits inside it, along with a Do Not Watch list for TV shows that keep drawing me back even though I’m disappointed every time I return to give them another try. It contains a few quotes from a book I was reading at one point (never finished reading that one), a list of things to remember, some longish journal entries, and a list of things I want to learn. And about fourteen different ink colors and even a few things written in pencil. (About a third of one of those pages is a color test for the ink that looks best on the pages that are a darker cream paper than I’m used to.)
In other words, it’s a mess. And that’s just twenty pages of a two-hundred page journal. The rest of the pages are still blank.
But when a thought needs capturing, I need to write it down—and in a hurry, too. I can be remarkably forgetful about some things while other things stay stubbornly in place inside my brain (like the fact that Shawn Spencer in Psych is played by James Roday whose actual last name is/was Rodriguez and he played Chad in the episode “Lights, Camera… Homicidio” in which Detective Lassiter doesn’t know how to say anything in Spanish except “I like cheese”). On the other hand, I don’t remember my grandmother’s birthday. It’s a day in August. That’s all I remember. Every time I check, I remember it for a few minutes, a day, and then poof!, it’s gone again.
I do not journal in well-separated chunks of ideas and topics, that’s for sure. It’s not even in somewhat independent topics. Writing about one thing inevitably leads me into something else and before I know it, I’m scratching out a to-do list beside my earnest attempt to work out why I hate my current book and what I ate for breakfast (and possibly why I never want to eat it again).
On the day I started this post, I had just run across a few articles about journaling (I searched for them, okay) and was skim reading one of them when the word catch-all jumped out at me and snagged my attention.
“After all, there’s a long tradition of writers and artists treating the journal as a glorious catch-all.”
Catch-all. Now there’s a glorious word for someone like me. ;-)
The link in that article led me to an article about Janice Lowry’s illustrated diaries. It is there that I discovered something that ultimately changed my entire view of how to approach getting what I want out of my journals.
I’m not a visual artist—most of my journaling is very long-form, with some lists and a very few drawings—but I didn’t see Lowry’s journals as something to try to copy. What I saw was a way to treasure the disorganization of my thoughts—a way to create something beautiful despite them.
All I really want from my journals is a way to keep up with the thoughts I’m afraid I’ll lose, a place where I can work through things that are bothering me, a place of discovery.
I’ve always been one to write down my thoughts to help me comb through them and find what matters. My journals have also given me a place for a lot of random things (that maybe only matter in the moment, but they matter then): to-do lists, work logs, random realizations, personal reflections, daily records, goals, or even a picture or two that I don’t know what to do with because I stopped keeping photo albums years and years ago and yet I keep finding myself with photographs that need putting away.
And yes, I really wanted to keep all those things in some central place because that’s just the way my mind works. I don’t have structured days and I most definitely do not have structured thoughts. I backed off the idea of organizing my journals and decided a catch-all journal was the way to go.
But again, unfortunately, when I tried it, I had problems. Finding things later isn’t easy when you use a catch-all system like this. I couldn’t remember what stuff was in what journal. And hoo-boy, I am really one with that out of sight, out of mind disorder. :D
Then I read “Why You Should Keep a Journal (But NOT Every Day)” and realized I had a big hang-up that was holding me back and I hadn’t even realized it! For years I’ve been trying to make journaling a habit, but really, it’s already more than a habit for me—it’s a way of life. After reading that article, I became suddenly very aware of just how much of a box I was trying to put myself into.
Daily journaling isn’t sitting down and writing an essay in a pristine little book full of nothing but other daily entries. It’s exactly what I’ve already been doing for almost my entire life, for at least as long as I’ve been able to string a few words together on paper and make them make sense.
I journal plenty! I’m writing things down—my thoughts, my dreams, my lists, my ideas—all the time! I’m recording things, tracking things, thinking things through on paper and in digital form day after day, and whether that makes it into a long-form essay-like journal entry matters not one little bit.
After that realization, the only thing I really wanted to do differently than I was already doing was to put more of those thoughts and lists and ideas onto paper. Because again, out of sight, out of mind, and the one important thing I’ve discovered from flipping through some of my older journals, is that I need to flip through my journals on occasion to revisit some of those thoughts and ideas and I want to do that away from my computer or phone or tablet (practically speaking, I also want notes that will exist outside my computer for other reasons too).
So I started carrying around a tiny little journal that’s mostly a hardback notebook the size of my hand (one of these little ones, in fact). I’ve been writing everything in it; it is without a doubt my catch-all journal of choice, and then—here’s where it all comes together for me—then I move what needs to be moved into another journal when I have the time. Touching things twice, sometimes three times, really helps me remember it.
Seeing my notes, flipping through them all, and then expanding some when I transfer them into other journals, makes a world of difference.
Having this catch-all journal as a layover between my thoughts and my permanent journals is just the thing I needed to bring it all together.
I now have a journal that contains ONLY my list of fiction readings for 2019. (I’ll probably use it for 2020 forward too.
I have a journal for annotations and quotes: basically just somewhere I write down quotes from nonfiction books and articles I’m reading and thoughts I might be having about them.
Then I have a journal for simple, long-form entries where I talk about things that I want to write about, and I’m no longer worried that sometimes I go weeks or months without writing one of those, and then maybe write three in a row. That’s where the photos will end up, because some things don’t change.
I have a journal for my story notes—any story I happen to be working on.
And then I have two more general notebooks and journals that I write all those notes to self into and expand on them, or make plans that I’ve touched on in the small notebook.
Finally, there are some things that won’t ever get transferred from the small notebook to a more permanent home, because those thoughts or lists were ephemeral and they served their purpose.
It’s been about two weeks since I started doing things this way, but this has the feeling of something that’s going to stick.
There was a time when I thought Pocket was the second best option for all the articles I was used to clipping into Evernote to read later. I do not think that anymore.
I’ve found that over the last three years I’ve read more of the stuff I’ve saved in Pocket and it is easier to keep up with too. Most of the things I read, I discard after the fact. What I don’t discard, I archive in Pocket. My archive in Pocket is very small.
OneNote isn’t optimized for reading, and I never have been able to use it the same way I used Evernote. But that’s okay.
Pocket is compatible with every device I have, still–even the oldest–beating out both OneNote and Evernote. (Joplin has a very nice interface for reading articles, but I haven’t installed the web clipper extension and I’m not sure I want to). Pocket has been the perfect tool for collecting reading material to read in my spare time.
And that brings me to my 2019 goal to read fewer articles in Pocket.
:D Yes, it’s weird. But I’ve gotten this little notice three years running now, and I don’t want to get it again. Let me explain.
1. I read too many random articles I find on the web.
2. I’m wasting a lot of good reading time doing it.
3. I’m cluttering my brain with repetitive information I don’t need, and what happens when you repeat things? You remember them, they become habits, and you get stuck in a rut. No joke.
For example, I might send ten articles about, oh, I don’t know, procrastination to Pocket, and then read them all, even knowing the chance of me discovering or realizing anything new from them is infinitesimal.
It all comes down to this: I am wasting good brain power going over the same things time and again, when I should be reserving that time for deeper, longer, more meaningful learning on topics I haven’t already studied to death.
Well, it was a good run. I used to enjoy reading The Passive Voice blog for the publishing news and stuff, even the random bits that didn’t really have a lot to do with publishing or self-publishing. I have been visiting and reading the site for more than six years.
But The Passive Voice has been in decline for a while now. Of late, the blog has been awash in political wrangling and the comments a chore to read. A few frequent commenters have taken over the comments section in the last several years and their diatribes and viewpoints are just not to my taste.
It’s a chore to talk to people about things that can be divisive and come away from those conversations still friends, or at least friendly. But it’s a hell of a lot more likely to happen in a real world conversation than in an online one. Discussion of divisive topics online has become a no-go for me as I’ve realized how much of a waste of time it is. Even people who are nice, easy to talk to people in real life often act like total assholes online.
I am now saving all these types of conversations for people in the real world whom I respect or who can at least treat another human being with a bit of decency. Anyone else can stuff it.
I’ve successfully cut out the writer forums I used to visit and my enjoyment of writing and self-publishing has improved dramatically. I think it’s time to cut out The Passive Voice too.
I’m kind of thrilled by that decision. Stopping my visits to the forums has been a surprisingly effective mood booster. Even if this is just a blip compared to that, it can only help.
I have the weirdest feeling that I’ve already read the book I’m reading now (Quicksilver by Amanda Quick). And yet, I’m usually really good at remembering books I’ve read, so I’m a little thrown by this. I will admit, the time frame for when I could have read this book falls at a particularly stressful time in my life, so maybe I just legitimately don’t remember it. When I say particularly stressful, I mean one of the most stressful periods in my life, ever.
So it is possible I have read this book and don’t remember.
It’s maddening. Some parts of it feel so familiar and some do not. :o
Also, I’m looking for a new ebook reader app (primarily for EPUBs) for Android. Aldiko is going downhill fast and I’m not sure what to do about that, because it’s the only ebook reader I actually like. :(
It’s time to restart the reading log. This time for 2018. :-)
I’m not worried that I haven’t been reading enough fiction this year. Far from it. I spent a lot of time in the first half of this year reading fan fiction. A lot of fan fiction. I can’t tell you how much, but I was so focused on reading that I was reading 2-4 stories a day, a great many of which were novel length.
I delete fan fiction stories and books from my library as soon as I’ve read them if they’re not keepers.
Since January 1, I’ve added 277 stories to my library that I’ve read and gone on to keep because I might want to read them again some day. If that’s anywhere near a representative sample and I keep even one out of every three stories that I read… well, that’s a lot of reading. If I only kept one of out five (more likely) or eight (definitely possible), well then, the numbers start to get ridiculous. Considering how obsessively I was reading, it’s entirely possible the numbers are ridiculous.
All that said, there are a lot of original books I want to read, books I’ve been collecting all year, and it’s time I got started reading them. Putting a number to my progress will remind me not to let time get away from me now that I’m obsessing over my writing again.
I had originally posted all this to the top of the reading log page, but after a little thinking, I decided that I wanted to keep the reading log page focused on the actual reading log and not explanatory text. :)
Update on 1/12/19: During my year end clean up of a paper calendar I was keeping notes on, I found several lists of stories I read then deleted, along with notes about why. I added the ones I found to my personal reading log, but since you don’t care how many stories I actually read I’ll just say I definitely read more than the 277 stories mentioned above. :D
Here’s a screenshot of a post on a forum. Maybe you can guess the forum, but I’m going to do the sane thing here and not mention it by name, because I’m not interested in sending goons after the bad guys and becoming a bad guy myself.
But ain’t that grand?
Personally, it’s just one of many reasons I stay far, far away from Amazon’s Kindle Unlimited program.*
(Also known as: Customers ripping off authors by downloading loads of books while signed up to a three-month trial of KU costing 99¢, stripping DRM from those books, reading those books in a way that won’t register for the author’s benefit (AKA authors not getting paid for pages read, because Amazon can’t stop this or account for it because payment is based on page reads instead of something reliably easy to track like, you know, borrows…), and then keeping those books indefinitely after canceling the KU membership.)
Pirating happens, and so does stealing, if one defines this kind of thing as theft. (I do, and although there are technicalities about why this might not be actual theft, I don’t care. Thievery is as good a name for it as any as far as I’m concerned.) There’s not much an author can do about this that won’t cost more in time and effort than is lost to the pirating (and theft), so I don’t worry about it much. Just nothing to be done.
Amazon has proven they’re unwilling to do anything. They switched from a system that worked around this kind of thievery to make sure authors got paid at least for the download to a system that pays literally as little as possible and makes authors eat any losses because of badly behaving Amazon customers.
In all honesty, I probably wouldn’t let this stop me from participating in KU if there were other benefits that I was interested in, but there aren’t, so I don’t. It’s an ugly system, and I choose to stay as far away from it as I can.
As for the pirating and thievery, well, people are either willing to pay or they aren’t. The money gets too slim, they’ll have to read someone else’s books because I won’t be writing, so tough on them if they really liked what they stole. And if they didn’t like it, well, too bad so sad for them. That’s a sweet revenge of a different sort. Reading that stolen book wasted their time, and that’s something they ain’t never getting back. :D
*I did have one book in KU way back when. I won’t bore you with details here but there’s a link if you want to know more.
The Passive Voice posted a link to a great little article about reading today, “How to Get Your Mind to Read,” that tempted me to comment. I wrote one, but then decided the comment went a little too personal for me to post it there, so I’m putting it here instead. :-)
“This was a great piece. I always did spectacularly well on the reading portions of standardized tests, but only after I passed the fifth grade, when I started reading stuff that I wanted to read, a wild collection of random things. Up until then, the school had kept me in the slow reading groups. I also started doing much better than my classmates on games like Trivial Pursuit at about that time, even though I really didn’t like the game much. I can almost bet that had something to do with the kind of reading I started doing at about that time. Not kids’ books, that’s for sure. :) In the end, I graduated third in my class and ended up with my picture on the wall because of my test scores on the ACT. It’s still there, unfortunately, and my poor kids had to live with it staring down at them all through high school. It was awkward that my daughter looks so much like me. She actually had friends ask her why her picture was on the wall and had to tell them it was her mother.”
I liked that this article gave me some interesting ideas about why I might be a “good reader” even though I actually read pretty slowly. I do tend to comprehend what I read, but there are times when I question how I think of myself when it comes to reading. Just yesterday I read an article online that required me to reread a paragraph about four times before I felt like I knew what the heck it was saying!
Sometimes I wonder why it can feel so hard to read some things and not others—even when the words aren’t any more challenging in one piece than another. (In fact, I was thinking about this just yesterday.)
Maybe it’s simply that I’m trying to make connections with knowledge that’s full of gaps.
But back to the book I read today: Dauntless by Jack Campbell.
I’ve been planning to read this book for a very long time. At least two years. But I finally got to it today.
The thing that most interested me about the story was the idea that Captain Jack Geary is found in stasis after a hundred years where everyone thought he was dead—and believes he’s a hero. Only he doesn’t see himself that way at all. I like this theme and it’s one that I find difficult to pass up as a reader. :-)
I liked Geary a lot, and I liked the way the book was written. The space battles were ridiculously slow and nail-biting, which sounds totally weird, I know.
But when I say slow, I’m not talking about the tension or the pacing, I’m talking about the fact that it takes hours for these guys to make contact after getting visuals because of the time delay that is light in space. It was nerve-wracking waiting for things to happen. :D
I have no idea what is and isn’t possible or correct, but as the reader, I believed it, and that’s what matters when it comes to reading fiction.
It was a good book, and I enjoyed it. I still wish I’d spent the day writing instead, but that’s not the fault of the book, trust me.
The day before yesterday I read The Naturalist by Andrew Mayne and got halfway through it before I realized I’d read something else by this guy. It was a book on writing called How to Write a Novella in 24 Hours. I don’t remember much about the book, to be honest.
I didn’t mean to read the whole book in one sitting (of ten hours! because I’m a slow reader), but once I’d started it, I just couldn’t bring myself to stop.
That might say more about me than the book in my current state, but I actually liked this book a lot. If the last couple of chapters had been just a little different I might have loved the book. :D
Dr. Theo Cray was a great character and the science in the book was really cool. I’m not a biologist so don’t ask me if any of it was accurate, but it was interesting and entertaining trying to guess just how knowledgeable Mayne is about this stuff, because he did a fantastic job of making me believe he knows quite a lot. But—and there’s definitely a but—the ending of the book disappointed me.
It ended a little too abruptly to be satisfying. (And now I feel a lot more sympathetic to the reviewers who complained about that with a couple of my books, lol.) (Although, honestly, I felt pretty sympathetic to start with. I still have a problem with endings despite the fact that I’ve been publishing for five years and that’s how I make my living. I’m working on it!)
I’m not even sure why I decided to read The Naturalist instead of something else, but once I’d started the first page, I was hooked. :-)
The book was a Kindle First selection a while back and that’s how I got my copy. This makes the fourth (I think) Kindle First book I’ve actually read all the way through. (Let’s see if I can remember: Doubt, A Death in Sweden, When They Come for You, and The Naturalist.) I definitely liked The Naturalist best of all those books.
I think I clicked a link to get to it from somewhere, but by the time I read the essay, I’d lost track of where I’d been. It doesn’t matter. The essay was lovely and I enjoyed it enough to want to share. :)
It warns you for politics, but it really isn’t political. It’s about being human.
I’ve been binge reading again. Unfortunately, when that happens, I don’t write. I don’t have time. I read in every spare moment I have and I can’t seem to pull myself away. I’ve read a lot of books in the last several days and started even more that I didn’t finish for one reason or another.
However, I have to get some real writing done today no matter how desperate I am to finish reading the book I started a few hours ago (The Girl Who Knew Too Much by Amanda Quick) (after I finished reading How to Tame a Beast in Seven Days by Kerrelyn Sparks).
I mean it. I have to write today.
I haven’t written a word of fiction in two days and it’s bumming me out. Unfortunately, that hasn’t actually made it easier to do any writing. I think I’m avoiding my book.
I don’t have a time machine so there’s no point in dwelling on it, but I do have to do better today.
I’m mystified. I’ve successfully avoided everything I said I was going to avoid, but that wasn’t enough to get me started writing again. I started reading a book instead. I read half of it, then decided I needed a break from that one (1632 by Eric Flint) and started reading something different (Beholder’s Eye by Julie E. Czerneda).
I’ve been procrastinating again—or, really, I never stopped. I’ve pretty much spent the entire day reading articles about productivity, flexible schedules, fixed schedules, procrastination, and tiny habits. Today’s most interesting find was “How to be Productive When You’re Lazy – A Guide for Artists” at rubberonion.com.
I do just about everything mentioned already, but it set off a few thoughts that I’m still trying to follow to their endpoint.
The thing is, I have huge aspirations for the next 12 months. I want to write a great many books this year, and I’m not off to a strong start. Frankly, in the bluntest of terms, I haven’t started at all this year.
I obsess too much about how productive I’m being (or not being), and I don’t give myself enough real* downtime, which usually sets off a cycle of procrastination that eats up significantly more time than I might have if I’d just given myself permission to be lazier. ;) These aren’t points of the article/post but they’re the thoughts that came into my mind while reading the post.
Anyway, more to think about as I try to get myself back to writing every day.
*TV watching is not real downtime! (Something I’ve only recently accepted.) When I watch television/videos, I don’t ever end the time feeling better, more rested, or more energetic than I was when I started. Comparing it to something else: reading often makes me want to start writing, but TV almost never does.
I started reading this one this morning. So far, I like it very much. It’s set in Victorian England and the hero and heroine are both interesting characters, as are several of the background characters. :)
Update 9/22: I finished this one today. I actually liked it quite a lot. I have this feeling Slater was mentioned in a previous book but I can’t be sure. Either way, I enjoyed a lot of different things about this particular one. I thought the mystery was very well done. I still kind of miss the more common tropes Quick used to write (fake engagements, etc) but I didn’t miss it quite so much in this book.
*I’m trying out a new way of doing my reading log posts. This way I get to keep up with some of the books I start and don’t finish for a while.
This is a common problem for me: I read too many self-help books. It’s my favorite kind of nonfiction.
Right now, I’m reading Triggers by Marshall Goldsmith and Four Seconds by Peter Bregman. The sad fact is that I read so many of them, they all get mixed up in my head and I couldn’t tell you much about any of them within a week or two of finishing them. I read Better Than Before a while back, and I remember thinking it was great, but I have no idea what I took away from it now that it’s been a few weeks. :o
I do believe when I finish Triggers, I’m going to take a self-help reading hiatus for the rest of the year and devote my extra time to reading fiction. (I’ve read about as much as I want to of Four Seconds after skipping around the chapters and reading those that interested me.) It’s time to start devoting more time to action experiments instead of thought experiments. :D
I’ve had a really bad couple of weeks when it comes to my schedule. I think it’s because of the change in routine that comes around this time of year but it might be the book, or me. Right now I’m about to make lunch, after a very unsuccessful attempt this morning to stick to my writing schedule. I failed. In fact, I never even got started.
I want to have a few successful days. I know that’s all it would take to finish this book, and that’s something I desperately want. I want to finish this book so I can start my next one. It’s a book I really, really want to write. I don’t know if I can do the idea justice, but I’m going to have fun trying. ;)
I did read a great book while I’ve been struggling so hard. That’s good, right?
The Martian by Andy Weir is fantastic and utterly compelling and if you’ve been thinking about reading that book but haven’t gotten to it yet, let me tell you—stop waiting! It’s a great book.
My current read is nonfiction. I started Gretchen Rubin’s Better Than Before: Mastering the Habits of Our Everyday Lives this morning. Yep. Another habit book. I’m hoping it’ll give me something to use to help me get back on track with my schedule, because I’m not giving it up. This schedule has been a great boon to my productivity, even counting the terrible days this week and last.
Well, on to lunch, so I don’t end up starting my 1–4 session late. I need to try to stay on schedule at least half the day. :)
My ebook library is up to 940 1222 books** now in Calibre. The last book I bought, I didn’t finish, but I do plan to finish it. ;) I do! I’m on page 73 of 367 in Aldiko*. But several other books caught my interest, even though they too have ended up unfinished, and it occurs to me today that my library is just too big. Not just my ebook library, my physical one too, tbh.
I can’t find, or focus on, the good books. It takes me too long to decide what I want to read because I have so much available. A month or two ago, I subscribed to BookBub. I received emails everyday and I couldn’t resist at least one or two books each day and so my ebook library swelled. I went to update my Nook, Kindle, and phone libraries and the whole idea that I have all these books in my library that I probably won’t ever read smacked me like a limb whipping in the wind. It was a sudden and shocking realization, and although I’m generally against minimalism and de-cluttering (one of my favorite books is A Perfect Mess), I’m having the most irresistible urge to declutter my libraries. Starting with the ebooks.
So, I think I’m going to delete some stuff today, in between reading and copy editing the book I’m working on at the moment. And I’m not going to regret it. And if I do, well, regret is not so hard to live with when there’s nothing that can be done about it. :D
*I highly recommend Aldiko. I use the free version on my Kindle and the premium version on my android phone. The free version is good enough that with my particular reading habits I can’t even tell the difference between the two. (Update: I discovered the premium version was compatible with my Kindle Fire and Fire tablets and upgraded them too.)
**I hadn’t imported my Kindle books in a while. Ouch.
“A prolific writer, therefore, has to have self-assurance. He can’t sit around doubting the quality of his writing. Rather, he has to love his own writing.”
—Isaac Asimov, I.Asimov
I’m still reading this book, bits and pieces out of order, because it lends itself to that kind of reading and when it comes to nonfiction, that kind of reading isn’t unusual to me. The book’s engaging and easy to read and I’ve found lots of interesting stuff in it worth bookmarking.
Asimov goes on:
“I can pick up any one of my books, start reading it anywhere, and immediately be lost in it and keep on reading until I am shaken out of the spell by some external event.”
I know that feeling. It’s what causes me to lose half a day’s writing when I start researching something I might have forgotten in one of my books. Ah well. At least I’m having fun.
Now, time for me to trim my fingernails and get some writing done today.