So we’re halfway though January and I’m feeling quite proud of how 2016 is going so far. I’ve been catching up on my ‘to-read’ list (which I will admit became significantly longer after Amazon’s 12 Days of Christmas Kindle deals) and I’ve been writing some book reviews for an online magazine based in Dublin (Pure M, check it out). So I decided to come up with some new years resolutions to make sure that this productive state isn’t just a fluke for the cold months when I’m locked inside where it’s warm with nothing else to do but read.
1. Read more
A lot more if I possibly can. According to my Goodreads page I read 16 books last year, which isn’t great if I’m honest. Barely over a book a month. I didn’t particularly enjoy all of those books so I know that some of them took me longer to read than the ones I did enjoy. I begrudge not finishing a book even if I’m not enjoying it; I always live in the hope that it will get better, so I sometimes linger on a book longer than I probably should. The only book I left unfinished this year was Love In The Time Of Cholera which I genuinely couldn’t stomach finishing. I’ve never read such twaddle in my life (apologies to anyone who likes it, I known it’s supposed to be a classic, I just couldn’t take it). But this year I want to smash that number. The Goodreads Reading Challenge is my motivator for this. I’ve set myself the goal of 24 books this year, 2 books a month should be doable.
2. Read things I wouldn’t normally read
I never realised it before I started doing book reviews and this blog that I’m quite insular with my taste in books. I’ve always considered myself open minded when it comes to genres and if someone asks me what kind of books I like to read my answer is always ‘I’ll read anything, really.’ But it’s just not true. I read mysteries and thrillers. That’s about it. My favourite book of the moment is Gone Girl (or anything Gillian Flynn related, as I’m sure you all know by now) and if I see a blurb on a book that says ‘readers of Gone Girl will love this’ I snatch it up immediately. This is the genre I go for all the time, something with a mystery at it’s core, and more than likely a twist ending (or middle). When I give my ‘I’ll read anything’ answer and the person lists some genres, I shake my head and say ‘oh no I wouldn’t be into that, really.’ A friend was considering choosing a Terry Pratchett book for book club and my first though was ‘oh I don’t really like fantasy,’ even though the only fantasy books I’ve ever come close to reading were the Game of Thrones series (I got halfway through the third book and had to stop because my friend was getting mad at me that I wasn’t up t date on the TV show and he wanted to talk to someone about it). So I’m determined to read some books that I would normally shake my head at without giving it a second thought. As we speak, Good Omens, (kindly lent to me by my sister) is proudly sitting on my shelf waiting to be read for next month’s book club.
3. Write Every Day*
*but don’t feel bad if I don’t.
One of the many pieces of advice that every writer gives budding authors like me is that you should be writing every day. Even if it’s just ten minutes here and there, just write. This is something I tried to live by last year and for the most part I stuck to it. I have it in my calendar on my phone (which is basically my bible), every night 8-9 is writing time. There’s never anything good on TV at 8 o clock, I’ve finished my dinner and the dishes have been done, there’s no excuse not to write at 8pm. Except that sometimes there is. Sometimes I’m chatting to my housemate and we lose track of time. Sometimes I’ve got coffee plans that run longer than I thought they would (Starbucks opens late). Sometimes I just really don’t feel like it. But when I don’t do any writing for the day I end up feeling really guilty about it and just get disappointed and annoyed at myself. This year I want to write as much as I can as often as I can. I started this blog as a way to keep myself writing and it’s worked. And now that I’m doing book reviews every week that’s a way to keep my mind focused on writing as well. And of course there’s the actual writing so I have stories to enter into competitions and such. So my resolution is to write every day. But on the days that I don’t really feel like it, or just lose track of time, I won’t get down on myself about it. I’ll just make sure I read a bit of a book, or an article in a writing magazine. Reading is all part of writing after all.
So those are my reading and writing resolutions for 2016. What about you, have you got any reading resolutions you want to keep for the year?