Carving time to Read

I have been a horrific reader of late.  If I’ve been reading anything, it’s been blog posts and news articles, stuff to critique for my writing group, or stuff for work.  I’ve also been reading a lot of tweets, which really, really do not count.

I made the goal again this year of reading 52 books in 52 weeks, but it’s over two weeks into the year and I haven’t finished a single book.  Then again, I also haven’t been giving myself any time to read.  I’ve been trying pushing myself so hard when it comes to writing, getting all my freelance stuff done and trying to get novel-writing time in also, that I’ve been sapping myself of my best source of inspiration—great books.

A lot of writers (as I’ve been reminded these past days, by reading their blogs) feel that reading is a part of the job.  Maybe one of the most important parts.  A lot of writers also mention that (like me) they feel guilty if they spend too much time doing anything that isn’t writing, and reading falls under that category—but they also realize that it’s to their detriment.

So I’ve decided something that might be very hard for me to do.  I’m going to let my weekends focus on reading.  I’m going to give myself my weekends to bury myself entirely in books, if I want to.  Let myself read as much as I want.  Actually give myself a chance to hit my reading goal.

I’m also planning on starting a regime of waking up at six in the morning to write, starting tomorrow, so that I have a set block of quiet time to work on my more creative endeavors.  Maybe as I get into the swing of things, I’ll be able to incorporate reading back into my schedule in a more normal basis, but we’ll see.


Japan update: In case you don’t know, I’m attempting to go to Japan this Spring/Summer with my husband if possible.  I’d be teaching English.  I’m applying all over the place, but only really seriously the past few days.  I’ve gotten two reply emails so far!  One “please send us this completed questionnaire!” that seems very encouraging, and another that wants me to reapply for their Summer term.  Wish me luck that my continued attempts go well!

Productivity tastes good.

Lately I’ve been trying to change the way I do things. The fact is, I’m kind of a workaholic, and when you’re a creative type working from home on either a self-employed or freelance basis like me, that can mean that you’re working ALL THE TIME. Do things get accomplished that way? Sure. But when you have a never-ending to-do list, it starts to feel like you’re never going to catch up.

And so, I’ve started making daily goals. Or rather, one or two big, specific goals for each day. Once I have those specific things done, I can count my day as a success. Anything else I get done is a bonus, and if I don’t get anything else done? I still had a good day.

Today I managed the two articles I was asked to write, along with listing a new item in my Etsy shop. (And blogging. See?!) I’d hoped to finish some music reviews I need done by the 15th, but that will be tomorrow’s big goal. Now, I’m going to snuggle up with my husband… or a good book. Whichever one is feeling more snuggly at the moment.

Looking Ahead to 2011

There are four days left of 2010, and I find that I’ll be missing the year a little. This year has been such a significant one for me, and next year is still wide open with possibilities, and a whole world of things that I can only half begin to imagine. Change is good, though. Change hopefully means improvement.

Actually, I’ve already started some big changes… I’ve finally gotten serious about branding my name on the internet as a writer, for example, thus this new blog which I have to say I like the design of very much.

This year is a new start for Tales From the Hollow Tree, as well.  Isabelle Santiago and I realized we were doing ourselves a disservice by using it mainly as a review blog—we want to highlight our own writing much more than we have been doing, so we’re taking a page from the Merry Sisters of Fate blog and we’re going to be doing an experiment in flash fiction, providing four short stories a month—two from each of us.  We’re hoping it will teach us a lot about writing and get us out of our comfort zones a bit.

As far as life goes, Christmas was a wonderful event.  My very first spent with my husband, and a deliciously sweet little thing.  I didn’t get out any Christmas cards this year, sadly, but I have a serious resolve to do things better next year.  Then again, isn’t that true for almost everyone, every year?

Still, goals for 2011:

1) Finish Jethro, Edit and Query.

2) Iron out the plot and hopefully finish Secret Project.

3) Write two short stories per month on Tales From the Hollow Tree.

4) Blog, blog, blog.

What are you going to be working on next year?