21 or Bust
As I have explained I will not be participating in NaNo this year—there’s just too much going on right now for me to give it my attention. But I’m with my friends in spirit.
Yesterday, Jodi schooled us on the theory that it takes 21 days to make—or break—a habit (I’ve also heard 28, but I’m willing to run with 21—unless the Aussies just have an easier time with habits).
And even though I won’t be NaNoing, I can’t say that I have no writing habits that couldn’t do with a little tweaking—particularly reading.
Normally I’m a voracious reader. The year after college, on the suggestion of a friend, I counted the number of books I read from January 1 through December 31. 276 books. And very few of those were short, barely-novels like Animal Farm.
But for the last 8 months I have read a grand total of 8 pages. There are many reasons for this, but the easiest to convey (and most accurate) is that I’m depressed. Normally I love to read not only because I love to devour new ideas, but also because I’m quite comfortable spending time with myself. But when I’m depressed I don’t want to be alone with myself. I don’t like myself—heck, I barely tolerate myself.
But if I ever want to make myself into a writer there’s no way to do it without being a reader again. And the month of the year where friends to the left of me, and friends to the right of me, are making a concerted effort to modify their writing habits seems like as good a time as any to join the fun—even if it’s just from the sidelines.
So this November, while the rest of you are obsessing over 1,667 words I’m going to be making sure to read every day, even if just a little bit. I’m not going to set a specific daily goal, but I do plan to make myself read each day.
I haven’t decided what my tool of choice will be. Terry Pratchett’s Unseen Academicals is a strong possibility, as is Christopher Moore’s Fool. I figure If I’m going to make myself read I have a better chance if I can manage to make myself laugh at the same time.