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What’s She Reading? – January 18, 2017

I own a lot of books. Once upon a time, I read a lot of books. Lately, I’ve been buying a lot of books and leaving them to collect dust.

0118171709.jpgThis is my central book hub. It holds about 3/4 of my book collection (not including comics). As you can see, it’s beginning to overflow – because I have a habit of buying more and more books, even though I never read any of them.

“I don’t need more books,” I say to myself, as I walk into a bookstore. “I have plenty of books already,” I insist, as I pile my arms full of shiny new YA titles, a workout that leaves both my biceps and my wallet aching. “I’ll read these soon,” I promise, as I stack my purchases atop twenty other untouched adventures.

But I love reading. I really do. And I’m going to start reading again. Reading inspires my writing – I can’t be the writer I want to be if I don’t read.

So, here are five books – the first five on my 2017 reading list. After these, I’ll choose five more, and five more after that, and so on, and so forth, and – you get the idea.

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Mycroft Holmes – Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Anna Waterhouse

A Dog’s Purpose – W. Bruce Cameron

A Discovery of Witches – Deborah Harkness

Tattoo Atlas – Tim Floreen

Hyperbole and a Half – Allie Brosh (on Kindle)

There they are. Wish me luck.

Oh, and let me know what books I should pick up next time I inevitably wander into a bookstore to spend money I don’t have!

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3 New Year’s Resolutions for Writers (But Mostly for Me)

I know it’s been two weeks since January 1st, but bear with me. I’m still shaking off the holiday hangover.

1. Write more.

This is pretty obvious, right? Write. No matter how much I write, I’m never satisfied with how much I’ve produced, but lately (and for a while now) I’ve been writing next to nothing. I haven’t had the time. Forty hours a week takes a lot out of a person. So, in 2017, I’m going to write more.

2. Read more.

When I was a kid, I never stopped reading. I started reading Harry Potter when I was seven, started reading Lord of the Rings when I was eight. And reading taught me to write. The more I read, the more I learned about spelling, grammar, word choice, character development, storytelling. I learned to write from other writers by reading what other writers had written. But something (and hefty college textbooks are most likely the culprit) stopped me. It’s been ages since I’ve finished a book. The rows and rows of unread books on my shelves need some attention in 2017.

3. Take risks.

This is the real point of this post, I guess. Taking risks can mean different things to different people – and what’s considered “risky” can change throughout the course of a person’s life. Me getting behind the wheel of a car is a bit less risky now than it was when I was four years old (though, that’s probably debatable). For some people, taking a risk this year might mean writing a thriller when they usually write romance, or going to a movie alone when they’re usually too anxious to go without a group. These are worthwhile risks. They’re risks that will probably help a person grow.

My risk, this year, was a big one. For me.

I quit my job. My comfy, cozy, $14.00/hour, 9:00-5:00 (actually, 7:30-4:00, ew), safe, reliable desk job. Only, it wasn’t so comfy, and it wasn’t so cozy. Not for me; not at this point in my life. I’m 22. I’ll be 23 in just about three weeks. How can I already feel like I’m wasting my life when I’m not even one-third of the way through it, when I’ve only been able to drink legally for one-tenth of it, when I’ve spent all but one-fifth of it in school?

When I started, this job was a way to provide for myself, a way to keep my apartment and my car and my internet and my rats while I worked toward the life I wanted. I would go to work during the day, write during my free time. And I did go to work during the day – but I didn’t write.

I’ve been a writer since I learned how to hold a pencil, so how the hell have I spent so much time not writing?

I know it’s risky. I know it takes time to build up a freelancing career. I know my income won’t be as reliable as my not-so-comfy, not-so-cozy desk job.

But I don’t mind pinching pennies, as long as those pennies bring me joy.

Whatever your risk is, take it. If it helps you grow, if it’s good for you, if it brings you happiness – take a risk this year.