I know it’s time to make resolutions and set goals for 2015, and I’ll do that… soon-ish.
But for now, there’s one main goal that I have in mind, and while it should be a no-brainer, I’m finding that I actually have to say it, write it down, and carve it in stone. (Or I would, if I had a chisel and a block of marble handy.)
My goal is this:
In 2015, I’m going to concentrate on reading… whatever I feel like.
Shouldn’t that go without saying? But it’s really not that easy.
Over and over again, despite my best intentions, I find my reading life consumed by commitments and obligations. There are book groups. Challenges. Discussions I’ve agreed to take part in. And all of it means that my reading is determined ahead of time and marked on a calendar… and I end up feeling frustrated and unfulfilled.
Biggest culprit? The domineering, dictatorial spreadsheet I set up to track my ARCs. I thought it was brilliant at the time — a clear, concise way of tracking all of the review books I’d yet to read, sortable by publication date, source, and whether I’d committed to a particular blog post date or other publicity event. It is actually great for all of those purposes — but when I find myself consulting the spreadsheet to figure out what to read next in order to stay on track, well, something is wrong with the system.
I get really antsy. I start feeling like I’m being told what to do (which I do not respond to well, in reading and in life in general).
This is why I’m not a very good book club participant. I’m fine, so long as we’re reading books that I want to read anyway. But when I start feeling compelled to read something that’s not really my choice, I get resentful.
This is also why I’ve stopped doing book-related challenges. I don’t want to pick books based on a category I need to check off or what letter of the alphabet the title starts with. It’s fun to see how well my reading fits in (sometimes), but it’s not how I want to decide what I read.
The bottom line, for me, is that I’ll never have enough time to read all of the books that I want to read. And when I pick and choose, I want it to be based on what I want AT THAT MOMENT.
During the last two weeks, I put aside all my lists and just started picking up the books that I felt like reading. How ridiculous is it that this felt like a big break-through for me, a special sort of treat?
Answer: It’s completely ridiculous.But at the same time, I had the weirdest feeling of freedom. I felt like proclaiming from the rooftops, “I can read whatever I feel like reading!” Crazy, right?
And so… here I am. I find myself in the odd situation of having to remind myself, yet again, that I read for fun and because I love it. Period.
I have enough responsibilities and commitments in my life. I read for me.
How does this translate into a resolution for 2015?
In 2015, I commit to reading on a whim. I will read whatever book suits my mood or catches my eye. I will not be bound by calendars or deadlines. I commit to reading the books that I want to read, when I want, on whatever schedule I want.
In 2015, reading will be fun. And also, I hope, stimulating, inspiring, moving, educational, thought-provoking, laughter-inducing, and surprising. But overall, I want to enjoy reading 100% of the time.
Reading on a whim. Oh yes, 2015 will be a very good year!