I have discovered the secret to accomplishing New Year’s Goals: Make them really easy. Or, as I said it on Twitter, I’m very kind to me.
I have already accomplished, as in completely finished, one of my goals. I created it to kill all kinds of birds with one really fun stone. The goal was to read at least five books on my “Want To Read” list from Goodreads.com, or else remove that same number from the list. I never feel all that thrilled with the number of books I have read in a year, so this would probably help that. I also often reach the end of the year feeling that I could have chosen my books more intentionally. I get to the end of my list for the year and don’t have very many that I had wanted to read for a long time or which I was pretty sure might change my life. I hadn’t read on purpose enough. And then, there’s the decluttering thing. That’s the other bird killed with this stone. A task list that is too long is too stressful. I’m going to try and keep my Want to Read list on Goodreads just around or just under the number of books I can read in a year. I don’t want to die with money debts, with people to forgive, or with too many books I said I might read someday but never ever did. That’s the master plan.
So, yeah, since I am very, very kind to me and only demanded that I knock this list down by five, I’m there already. This year I have read FIVE books that have been sitting on my Want To Read list on Goodreads for a very long time. If you care:
1. Eleanor and Park – a Young Adult novel by an author named Rainbow Rowell. She lives in Omaha, and my sisters went to a book-signing once where she was present. They said she had a sparkling personality, which I admire in an author, and Eleanor and Park had been highly-recommended by some publishing types I follow on Twitter. (I liked it, but this post is already going to be way too long for reviews.)
2. The New York Regional Mormon Singles Halloween Dance by Elna Baker. I was drawn to this one because I am drawn to coming-of-age stories that center around faith – running to, coming from, or wondering about it in just about any way shape, or form.
3. Peaches for Father Francis by Joanne Harris – the second sequel to Chocolat, need I say more.
4. O Me of Little Faith: Confessions of a Spiritual Weakling by Jason Boyett. Doubt and a faith journey? Yes, please.
5. Evolution, Me, & Other Freaks by Robin Brande – recommended by my literary agent long ago, as a nice example of a protagonist “figuring out what they believe when their received beliefs are challenged, both inside the context of their faith traditions and outside them… a nuanced portrayal of belief without even a hint of preaching.”
I read them all, and the feeling of accomplishment was magnified by the feeling that I had accomplished something I actually set out to accomplish. (As opposed to, say, binge-watching a Netflix series I didn’t know existed until a random scroll-through during lunch.)
And the best part is, I owe this reading momentum to another of my resolutions – the one to face the page. Every day, I open my novel-in-progress, telling myself I don’t even have to write on it that day. I certainly don’t have to write very much. I just have to face it.
Before now, whenever I had free time, I felt I should be writing. It’s my dream; I should do it when I have the chance. But I didn’t want to do it, I was afraid to try, I was too tired to be genius. So I wouldn’t write, but I would feel so guilty about it that I couldn’t relax and enjoy reading either. I should be writing, so I can’t read. So I did neither. (We humans are so very brilliant with our self-regulation.)
Now that I face the page every single day, I read guilt-free. And, in fact, we all know writers need to read. It’s imperative. And in my 2015, it’s finally getting done.
What’s your page? Are you facing it? I hope you are. Life’s too short not to actually be there.
(P.S. The title of this post was built on other books I’ve read this year, too – one on nutrition and one on happiness. Reading as much as I can on happiness is another goal for the year. I promise to share what I learn.) Sb