I’ve been reading (instead of writing!)

Today I read a book. Actually, I read a book the day before yesterday too.

Yesterday, I’m not sure what I did, but I didn’t write, so I had to have done something to pass the time. I did watch this interview with John Banville/Benjamin Black—it was actually fascinating, despite the fact that I’ve read none of the man’s books. Oh, and I did write a post about not writing. It’s quite obvious I wasn’t happy about that. :D

But back to the book I read today: Dauntless by Jack Campbell.

I’ve been planning to read this book for a very long time. At least two years. But I finally got to it today.

The thing that most interested me about the story was the idea that Captain Jack Geary is found in stasis after a hundred years where everyone thought he was dead—and believes he’s a hero. Only he doesn’t see himself that way at all. I like this theme and it’s one that I find difficult to pass up as a reader. :-)

I liked Geary a lot, and I liked the way the book was written. The space battles were ridiculously slow and nail-biting, which sounds totally weird, I know. But when I say slow, I’m not talking about the tension or the pacing, I’m talking about the fact that it takes hours for these guys to make contact after getting visuals because of the time delay that is light in space. It was nerve-wracking waiting for things to happen. :D I have no idea what is and isn’t possible or correct, but as the reader, I believed it, and that’s what matters when it comes to reading fiction.

It was a good book, and I enjoyed it. I still wish I’d spent the day writing instead, but that’s not the fault of the book, trust me.

Of course, you can find out more about Dauntless at Amazon if you’re interested!

The day before yesterday I read The Naturalist by Andrew Mayne and got halfway through it before I realized I’d read something else by this guy. It was a book on writing called How to Write a Novella in 24 Hours (Amazon). I don’t remember much about the book, to be honest.

I didn’t mean to read the whole book in one sitting (of ten hours! because I’m a slow reader), but once I’d started it, I just couldn’t bring myself to stop.

That might say more about me than the book in my current state, but I actually liked this book a lot. If the last couple of chapters had been just a little different I might have loved the book. :D

Dr. Theo Cray was a great character and the science in the book was really cool. I’m not a biologist so don’t ask me if any of it was accurate, but it was interesting and entertaining trying to guess just how knowledgeable Mayne is about this stuff, because he did a fantastic job of making me believe he knows quite a lot. But—and there’s definitely a but—the ending of the book disappointed me.

It ended a little too abruptly to be satisfying. (And now I feel a lot more sympathetic to the reviewers who complained about that with a couple of my books, lol.) (Although, honestly, I felt pretty sympathetic to start with. I still have a problem with endings despite the fact that I’ve been publishing for five years and that’s how I make my living. I’m working on it!)

I’m not even sure why I decided to read The Naturalist instead of something else, but once I’d started the first page, I was hooked. :-)

The book was a Kindle First selection a while back and that’s how I got my copy. This makes the fourth (I think) Kindle First book I’ve actually read all the way through. (Let’s see if I can remember: Doubt, A Death in Sweden, When They Come for You, and The Naturalist.) I definitely liked The Naturalist best of all those books.

The Naturalist is at Amazon if you want to know more!

Read a really lovely essay today on a random blog

I think I clicked a link to get to it from somewhere, but by the time I read the essay, I’d lost track of where I’d been. It doesn’t matter. The essay was lovely and I enjoyed it enough to want to share. :)

It warns you for politics, but it really isn’t political. It’s about being human.

Surviving trolls, extremism and other curses of modern life

Binge reading means no writing

I’ve been binge reading again. Unfortunately, when that happens, I don’t write. I don’t have time. I read in every spare moment I have and I can’t seem to pull myself away. I’ve read a lot of books in the last several days and started even more that I didn’t finish for one reason or another.

However, I have to get some real writing done today no matter how desperate I am to finish reading the book I started a few hours ago (The Girl Who Knew Too Much by Amanda Quick) (after I finished reading How to Tame a Beast in Seven Days by Kerrelyn Sparks).

I mean it. I have to write today.

I haven’t written a word of fiction in two days and it’s bumming me out. Unfortunately, that hasn’t actually made it easier to do any writing. I think I’m avoiding my book.

I don’t have a time machine so there’s no point in dwelling on it, but I do have to do better today.

I have to stop avoiding my book. >:-{

June 22 no sessions

I’m mystified. I’ve successfully avoided everything I said I was going to avoid, but that wasn’t enough to get me started writing again. I started reading a book instead. I read half of it, then decided I needed a break from that one (1632 by Eric Flint) and started reading something different (Beholder’s Eye by Julie E. Czerneda).

More reading—productivity tips for artists

I’ve been procrastinating again—or, really, I never stopped. I’ve pretty much spent the entire day reading articles about productivity, flexible schedules, fixed schedules, procrastination, and tiny habits. Today’s most interesting find was “How to be Productive When You’re Lazy – A Guide for Artists” at rubberonion.com.

I do just about everything mentioned already, but it set off a few thoughts that I’m still trying to follow to their endpoint.

The thing is, I have huge aspirations for the next 12 months. I want to write a great many books this year, and I’m not off to a strong start. Frankly, in the bluntest of terms, I haven’t started at all this year.

I obsess too much about how productive I’m being (or not being), and I don’t give myself enough real* downtime, which usually sets off a cycle of procrastination that eats up significantly more time than I might have if I’d just given myself permission to be lazier. ;) These aren’t points of the article/post but they’re the thoughts that came into my mind while reading the post.

Anyway, more to think about as I try to get myself back to writing every day.

*TV watching is not real downtime! (Something I’ve only recently accepted.) When I watch television/videos, I don’t ever end the time feeling better, more rested, or more energetic than I was when I started. Comparing it to something else: reading often makes me want to start writing, but TV almost never does.

Reading Log: Garden of Lies

Started reading: 9/19/2015

Garden of Lies - Amanda Quick

Finished reading: 9/22/2015

I started reading this one this morning. So far, I like it very much. It’s set in Victorian England and the hero and heroine are both interesting characters, as are several of the background characters. :)

Update 9/22: I finished this one today. I actually liked it quite a lot. I have this feeling Slater was mentioned in a previous book but I can’t be sure. Either way, I enjoyed a lot of different things about this particular one. I thought the mystery was very well done. I still kind of miss the more common tropes Quick used to write (fake engagements, etc) but I didn’t miss it quite so much in this book.

*I’m trying out a new way of doing my reading log posts. This way I get to keep up with some of the books I start and don’t finish for a while.

Reading too many self-help books of late

This is a common problem for me: I read too many self-help books. It’s my favorite kind of nonfiction.

Right now, I’m reading Triggers by Marshall Goldsmith and Four Seconds by Peter Bregman. The sad fact is that I read so many of them, they all get mixed up in my head and I couldn’t tell you much about any of them within a week or two of finishing them. I read Better Than Before a while back, and I remember thinking it was great, but I have no idea what I took away from it now that it’s been a few weeks. :o

I do believe when I finish Triggers, I’m going to take a self-help reading hiatus for the rest of the year and devote my extra time to reading fiction. (I’ve read about as much as I want to of Four Seconds after skipping around the chapters and reading those that interested me.) It’s time to start devoting more time to action experiments instead of thought experiments. :D

I’m struggling with the change in routine

I’ve had a really bad couple of weeks when it comes to my schedule. I think it’s because of the change in routine that comes around this time of year but it might be the book, or me. Right now I’m about to make lunch, after a very unsuccessful attempt this morning to stick to my writing schedule. I failed. In fact, I never even got started.

I want to have a few successful days. I know that’s all it would take to finish this book, and that’s something I desperately want. I want to finish this book so I can start my next one. It’s a book I really, really want to write. I don’t know if I can do the idea justice, but I’m going to have fun trying. ;)

I did read a great book while I’ve been struggling so hard. That’s good, right?

The Martian by Andy Weir is fantastic and utterly compelling and if you’ve been thinking about reading that book but haven’t gotten to it yet, let me tell you—stop waiting! It’s a great book.

My current read is nonfiction. I started Gretchen Rubin’s Better Than Before: Mastering the Habits of Our Everyday Lives this morning. Yep. Another habit book. I’m hoping it’ll give me something to use to help me get back on track with my schedule, because I’m not giving it up. This schedule has been a great boon to my productivity, even counting the terrible days this week and last.

Well, on to lunch, so I don’t end up starting my 1–4 session late. I need to try to stay on schedule at least half the day. :)

 

 

Today I will stop hoarding ebooks

My ebook library is up to 940 1222 books** now in Calibre. The last book I bought, I didn’t finish, but I do plan to finish it. ;) I do! I’m on page 73 of 367 in Aldiko*. But several other books caught my interest, even though they too have ended up unfinished, and it occurs to me today that my library is just too big. Not just my ebook library, my physical one too, tbh.

I can’t find, or focus on, the good books. It takes me too long to decide what I want to read because I have so much available. A month or two ago, I subscribed to BookBub. I received emails everyday and I couldn’t resist at least one or two books each day and so my ebook library swelled. I went to update my Nook, Kindle, and phone libraries and the whole idea that I have all these books in my library that I probably won’t ever read smacked me like a limb whipping in the wind. It was a sudden and shocking realization, and although I’m generally against minimalism and de-cluttering (one of my favorite books is A Perfect Mess), I’m having the most irresistible urge to declutter my libraries. Starting with the ebooks.

So, I think I’m going to delete some stuff today, in between reading and copy editing the book I’m working on at the moment. And I’m not going to regret it. And if I do, well, regret is not so hard to live with when there’s nothing that can be done about it. :D

*I highly recommend Aldiko. I use the free version on my Kindle and the premium version on my android phone. The free version is good enough that with my particular reading habits I can’t even tell the difference between the two. (Update: I discovered the premium version was compatible with my Kindle Fire and Fire tablets and upgraded them too.)

**I hadn’t imported my Kindle books in a while. Ouch.

A Prolific Writer…

“A prolific writer, therefore, has to have self-assurance. He can’t sit around doubting the quality of his writing. Rather, he has to love his own writing.”

—Isaac Asimov, I.Asimov

I’m still reading this book, bits and pieces out of order, because it lends itself to that kind of reading and when it comes to nonfiction, that kind of reading isn’t unusual to me. The book’s engaging and easy to read and I’ve found lots of interesting stuff in it worth bookmarking.

Asimov goes on:

“I can pick up any one of my books, start reading it anywhere, and immediately be lost in it and keep on reading until I am shaken out of the spell by some external event.”

I know that feeling. It’s what causes me to lose half a day’s writing when I start researching something I might have forgotten in one of my books. Ah well. At least I’m having fun.

Now, time for me to trim my fingernails and get some writing done today.