2017 will be a year fraught with a crazy amount of changes. Even without knowing the future there are things that you can count on. Time moving forward, relationships shifting, hearts and minds evolving on certain topics (for better or for worse), and even the very way we live our lives evolving into something new. But for now, instead of focusing on much heavier topics that can sometimes be out of our control, I want to dial it down into a realm that is very much within my power.
My ability to improve myself.
I spoke in Wednesday’s post on the importance of consistency and why I need to continue to press forward with my goals. You don’t get refinement without applying continual pressure. Carbon would never turn to diamond without it; and I believe that same metaphor applies to anyone who wants to improve on a respective passion. NBA players don’t get better at their game without spending more time working off the court than they do on. Musicians and their skill with their respective instrument doesn’t become more nuanced without hundreds of hours of practice. The examples can continue on into infinity.
With that mode of thinking, I think that a writer who doesn’t open themselves to new ideas is doomed to never develop their own voice to contribute to the medium. I challenge someone to find an author who creates their work in a complete vacuum without some time of external stimuli that provides context. How do you first develop a vision of the type of stories you want to create without picking up cues from other authors and completed works? Where do you gain best practices about the mistakes you shouldn’t make if you don’t get a chance to consume media that you end up hating? Continuing to be a sponge for the things in your life is a safe way of storing your mind with ample fodder for creative endeavors you may perform now or even forty years from now.
Which brings me to the graphic that I randomly stumbled upon on Facebook a few weeks ago below:
Since I was a kid, I’ve had an insatiable appetite for reading. I can’t even figure out where it came from but it’s always been there. However, in recent years, my volume of reading has decreased. Some part due to real life responsibilities that take away from that time as well as a bit of loss in focus. Seeing this graphic made me interested in taking back hold of that love for the written word and challenging myself to be as diverse in my reading selection as I possibly can.
Simply put, I will complete one book every two weeks over the course of the entire year, ending in twenty-six books. Each book has some type of criteria associated with it as well. This is the main reason I wanted to attempt it. Without trying it can be so easy to stay within a comfortable genre and never leave it, unconsciously entrenching myself into a rut that doesn’t allow me to grow. That stipulation stops that from happening. Being three weeks into the year already, I’ve already started reading my second book now.
The two reading challenges for the month of January that I picked were the following:
- A book published in the 20th Century (completed on 1-6-2017 by finishing The Hunter, published in 1962)
- A book someone else recommended to you (currently reading The Three-Body Problem)
I plan on providing short reviews of my reading experiences for each book I read at the end of each month. I also have a friend over at the Scrawl and Spirits (Check it out!) blog who will be undergoing this reading challenge as well. Here’s hoping we can keep each other going!
Until next time.