I had always heard that to be a great writer, you need to be a great reader. But, with so many things going on in my life, I could not seem to find time to truly sit down and read. It was not a lack of desire, it was a lack of understanding of how something so simple could make such a huge impact on my life.
“A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies. The man who never reads lives only one.” — George R. R. Martin
It is true, that when you read, you open yourself up to new worlds, new situations and new thoughts. This year, I challenged myself to read one book a week for the whole year. That’s fifty-two more books than I’ve read over the past five years. I wasn’t sure I could do it, but my whole “life goal” for 2018 was to challenge myself to step out of my box and create new experiences.
The first few weeks, I struggled to find the extra time to read. By week three, I had finally found my grove, by selecting a night that David typically worked, and TV was horrible – Friday. Not sure why Friday television is so bad, maybe it’s because most people choose Friday for their “night out”. But Friday now gave me the perfect excuse to cozy up by the fire with the book of the week and read.
Here’s what I’ve found so far this year has changed in my life since I’ve adopted this goal:
- My “world” has been expanded by reading some books that were outside of my normal genre. The only time I started a book and stopped, was if the language and/or content made me feel unhealthy. The result is that I’ve read some fantastic books that I would have never attempted without this challenge.
- I find that by making time in my life to read, it has encouraged me to MAKE time for other healthy habits as well…like yoga and my personal morning devotions.
- Reading has allowed me an opportunity to see “what sells” in the contemporary literature world. This has translated into a new understanding of my own writing.
- Reading recently published work has also encouraged me to not be so hard on myself in my own writing. I have read books that “break all the rules.” Rules, that I’ve struggled with in my own novel. These authors have broken them and still got published and read. It is as if they are telling me, “it’s OK. You can do this.”
- Then, there is just the plain good feeling I get from setting a goal and accomplishing it. A genuine endorphin booster.
- Last, reading reduces stress and anxiety, something I have struggled with over the past few years. I feel more relaxed. More content. More…
Did you set a New Year’s goal for this year? How are you doing on your progress? I hope, like me, you have found the courage to keep at it. The end result can only make us greater than when we started.