Tuesday, 19 January 2016

How many blog posts does it take to make a book?

When I reviewed my 2015 goal list I gave myself a little pat on the back. I hadn’t managed to achieve all my targets, but some unexpected successes more than made up for the failures.

But one statistic flummoxed me. I’d signed up to the Goodreads reading challenge and pledged to read 12 books over the year. I was certain I could get through one book a month, and secretly expected to read a lot more. And my grand total?
Only four books? That had to be a mistake. I checked the notebook I use as a reading record and decided I must have forgotten to enter some of my read books. I checked my bookshelves. They were crammed with books I’d read, but my notebook confirmed I’d read all but four in previous years. I remembered giving a bag of books to a charity shop. What were their titles? When had I read them?

It didn’t make sense. I’m reading all the time. Only that morning I’d read a couple of stories in Woman’s Weekly Fiction Special and …

Of course! I’d only counted fiction I’d read in book form. I hadn’t included any non-fiction, individual short stories I’d found in magazines and online, books I’d dipped into but hadn’t read from cover to cover, not to mention all those interesting articles in newspapers and on websites. And as for blogs …! How many thousands, millions, of words had I read on blogs? I’m sure if I’d added them all up they’d be the equivalent of reading War and Peace – at least!

I’ve signed up to the 2016 reading challenge, and have again chosen the modest target of twelve books, but I won’t be surprised or disappointed if I don’t make it. There are just too many reading distractions out there!

Here are two books (both Christmas presents) that I doubt I’ll get through by the end of the year. The last Writers’ & Artists’Yearbook I bought for myself was the 2012 edition, so I’ll be reading the new articles in this year’s edition very carefully, but the listings of publishers, agents, magazines etc. will be dipped into as and when I need them.

The other book, Photocrafty by Sue Venables, offers hours of distracting fun with suggestions for 75 photography projects. Can’t wait to get started on some of them. (Except I’m supposed to be writing – and reading!)      

Have you given yourself any reading challenges this year?

Sunday, 3 January 2016

Here we go again

Every day is the first day of the rest of your life. Any day could be the day when everything changes. Any day might be the one on which a new idea, an unexpected opportunity or a chance meeting makes your dreams come true.

So why is the first day of January extra special?

For me, it’s the day when I look back over the previous year, remind myself of the good things that happened, and decide that the not-so-good things were really only minor disappointments and problems that can now be forgotten. It’s the day I stop feeling I’ve failed because I haven’t ticked off every item on my to-do list. I take great pleasure in ripping it up and writing a smaller, more manageable one. It’s the day I open up my new diary and flick through all those lovely, blank pages.

In 2016 there are 366 days of new possibilities!

Ready, steady, go!

Happy New Year!