Happy New Year! It’s time once again to put away all your Christmas crap, cringe as you step on the scale for the first time in forever, steel yourself for the real winter, and consider changing something about your life. Yep—it’s resolutions time!
I’m all about New Year’s resolutions. A lot of people make them, but not many stick to them, like all those people who sign up for gym memberships in January only to promptly stop going by February. But I’m decent at forcing myself to meet my goals; otherwise I’d never finish a novel, and the world would be that much worse (or better??…quiet naysayers, or I’ll sick my fan mob on you, all ten of them!)
In 2018, my resolution was to learn to speak Spanish well enough to have basic conversations. And, well, I didn’t meet that goal (my listening comprehension is still terrible). BUT. I did practice Spanish every day (via Duolingo) and am a lot better than I used to be! So I made significant progress toward my goal, and plan to continue into 2019; therefore, I consider it a success. …Hey, you take your wins where you can get ‘em.
So I’ve thought long and hard about what my resolution should be this year, focusing on achievable goals that contribute to some kind of self-improvement or greater good, and decided the following: I resolve to read at least one fiction book a month.
Now I know this resolution sounds kinda lame, especially coming from an author who should be reading all the time anyway. And I realize one book a month is not that many; voracious readers can read several books per week. But here’s my deal: I’ve been in a reading slump since about September. After slogging through several so-so books and more than a few absolutely awful ones, I just stopped reading fiction because I couldn’t take the disappointment anymore. Even recommendations I got from other people about some good reads turned out to be not my thing. For instance: several people told me The Way of Kings, a fantasy book by Brandon Sanderson, was really good. It had a high rating on Amazon, and I loved his previous Limelight series (about evil superheroes and the regular people trying to fight them—it’s awesome, check it out!), so I picked it up. But when I got over 100 pages into it(the whole novel is over 1,000 pages, and is the first in a trilogy) and there STILL wasn’t any discernable plot, I finally asked a guy I know who’d read it what the deal was. “The first book is mostly worldbuilding,” he told me. “The main characters don’t even meet until the second book. But then it gets really good.” So, in roughly 3,000 pages, I could expect things to get good. I noped out of that noise.
I started to have the irrational feeling I was doomed to always pick novels I hated, so I took a break from reading fiction altogether. But I knew that was an untenable long-term solution (“You might forget how to read,” hubby helpfully advised me). I’d need to get back on my pink fluffy unicorn and ride that reading rainbow eventually.
So, with this resolution I commit to reading at least one fiction book a month. If I hate it, I give myself permission to take a break until the following month, but then I must try again. Basically, my resolution is to not get so jaded I give up on reading, because the less you read, the worse of a writer you become. In other words: I commit to finding those diamonds in the rough…and then liberally borrowing their ideas and verbiage! All great writers do it.