Polarthon – A polar fantasy themed winter readathon hosted by @jadeyraereads on Twitter or visit her YouTube channel for the announcement. The readathon runs from August 1st (today) to August 31st.
For all the info, you can also follow @polarthon
There’s a fundraiser this year, too, set up through Justgiving.com.
Yes, it’s not winter, but y’all know I love polar bears and when I found out about this readathon, I knew I had to participate. If you want to know the rules, visit the Twitter links above.
I’ll be donating at the end of the month or maybe at the end of each week, depending on how much I’ve read. There’s a tracker for this readathon… one virtual fish for every 100 pages read. I’ll be donating based on the fish I collect.
The other reason I’m doing this is because I’m behind on my reading. I joined the Goodreads Reading Challenge and set out to read 52 books this year and I’m about 5 books behind, so, my personal reading day today should get me close to caught up and back on track, and the readathon should help me get a little ahead.
So, what am I planning to read today…
Gallant (finish) by V. E. Schwab
Heartstopper by Alice Oseman
The 12 Week Year by Brian P. Moran and Michael Lennington
And either Sinner’s Playground (The Harlequin Crew Book 1) by Caroline Peckham and Susanne Valenti or Traitor (Loxley Prep Book 1) by Hattie Jude or Mine (Blood Ties Book 1) by A. K. Rose
I had best get started. I need food, coffee, and to settle in with my books. One day, I’d like to be brave enough to do a reading vlog…
Anyway, y’all have a great Monday and if you’re reading today, what are you reading?
I want to schedule a reading day. I think I want to do teach month. Maybe on the 1st. Get a stack of books together and just read. What do y’all think?
Anyone want to join me?
I know there are read-a-thons with blogs and sites and it’s been a while since I’ve done one of those… I should look them up to see when their next organized read-a-thons are, but… I need to catch up on my Goodreads Reading Challenge and I just feel like I need a day to read.
Of course, full confession… I was watching a YouTube video of a girl reading for 24 hours (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ryCFZI7s8I4&t=347s) and it got me thinking about doing something like it. Maybe not 24 hours, but then again, maybe…
I have a lot of books on my Kindle to read, a lot of books on my physical bookshelf to read, and I know I’ll be purchasing more books or borrowing more books from KU before the end of the year so I need to get cracking on some of the ones I already have.
Anyway… If you’d like to join in and read with me starting on August 1st, let me know. If not, I’ll still let y’all know how it goes and if I actually would want to do it again in September.
Before I sign-off, what are you currently reading?
…for their Books Unbanned program.
If you’d like to learn about it, click HERE.
If you’d like to donate, click HERE.
If you’d like to see the American Library Association’s Freedom to Read Statement, click HERE.
As an author AND as a reader, the banning of books, of any kind, offends me. And I will own being offended. Books should never be banned. Books aren’t something for us to create fear and hate around. Books aren’t something to hide away, to ban, to burn.
Books are full of love and adventure and questions and curiosities and stories that help us understand ourselves and each other. Books create community and connection. They create opportunities for discussion and new ways of thinking. Books allow us to get lost in another world. The allow us to feel seen, to feel found, and sometimes to simply feel because sometimes only in books do we find no judgment, no hate, no fear, no chastisement, only acceptance and comfort.
At least, that’s what books have done for me, that’s what books have meant for me and to me.
In addition to the writing I’ve been doing and all the story ideas I’ve been collecting through July and August and likely through September, too, I’ve been doing some reading and thought I’d share what those titles are…
I’ve finished a reading a fantasy novel, A Court of Honey and Ash by Shannon Mayer and Kelly St Clare, and to be honest with you… I’m both looking forward to the sequel and yet, I’m not. I didn’t like the way the first one ended and had I known, I’d have waited until the whole series was available.
I’m currently reading Zen in the Art of Writing by Ray Bradbury for nonfiction. I heard someone describe it as a love letter to writing and she was right. It is. It’s wonderful.
Intuitive Editing by Tiffany Yates Martin. Because I can always, always, always handle this better.
I’m also slowly working my way through Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo. If I focus on it, I’ll not be doing any writing at all because I’ll be reading it and the two books that follow and re-watching the series on Netflix. So, I have to pace myself.
Not My Romeo by Ilsa Madden-Mills. It’s slow going, too.
I gave up on City of Sin by Ivy Smoak. I couldn’t get into it. At all.
I need to finish, at some point, Ruckus by L.J. Shen. This one isn’t reaching me the way Vicious did. Defy was really good…
I have The Love Interest by Kayley Loring and Magical Midlife Madness by K. F. Breene waiting to be read as well as The Law of Innocence by Michael Connelly.
There are a few on pre-order, too…
Once Upon a Broken Heart by Stephanie Garber
Gallant by Victoria Schwab
Kingdom of the Cursed by Kerry Maniscalco
The Dark Hours by Michael Connelly.
Let’s not talk about the number of books already on my bookshelves (real and virtual), my library wish list, and my bookstore wish lists.
So many books… Man, I need a couple extra lifetimes.
If there’s anyone reading this, tell me what books your reading…
Earlier this year I read a book called Deep Work by Cal Newport. I loved it so much that I decided to read another of his books, Digital Minimalism. I’m still in the process of that one, but so far, I’m loving it, too.
I know productivity gets a bad rap, but I love learning how to improve, how to be better at, more efficient at, and yes, more productive at because I haven’t been in such a fucking long time that everything and everyone has shot right on by me in this world of being a romance writer. And though comparison is a bad thing… I know this first hand and I know what it can do to creativity and mental health, it’s not hard not to see that my writing career stuttered to less than a crawl in the last…too many years.
I am not satisfied with this.
I am no where done with telling stories.
So, for me to apply deep work (focus) to my writing, I needed to go on a digital minimalistic journey (eliminate some or all of the distractions that had me reaching for my phone or the tablet or the remote control…social media on my phone, in my case). Has it helped? Some, yes.
Without spending time scrolling Instagram, I’ve recovered some hours in my day. I’ve started exercising with a little bit more focus, caught up on household chores that I’d let slide, relaxed more (physically and mentally), and have had an increase in book ideas, story fixes, and overall the creative thoughts have begun to return.
I haven’t written as much as I hoped by this time of the month, but honestly, I’m still happy with the small progress because I’m enjoying writing again. I’m not influenced, nor am I concerned with what anyone else is writing or reading. I’m not listening to any you should or shouldn’t advice unless I’m specifically seeking out information on certain things. I’m just concerning myself with…me in this writing space.
When I started out way back when, I wrote the stories I wanted to write without thinking about marketability, or reader interest. Is this the smart way to do it? Most would say no, especially if publishing is the goal. But here’s the thing I’ve learned… If there’s no love in it, if there’s no joy in it, if I’m not interested in reading it, then there’s not going to be any writing. And the reader I used to write for was me, which means, the reader I need to write for now is me.
I’m listening to music, using a timer for sprints, and just writing where my heart and head lead me. I’m more focused on just telling the story I want to tell and deleting Instagram has helped me do this. My brain and spirit needed a bit of a break.
So… We’re basically halfway through July and I’ve read a few more books than previously, and I have something like…13 active stories that I’m writing on with each in various stages of completion. A couple of them are around the 2/3 – 3/4 mark, some are nearing the 1/2 way mark, and a number of them are in the early chapters. There are novels, novellas, and short 5K word stories (I have plans for these short pieces that I’ll share soon). All of this… I was so distracted from it all and now that I’m not, I’m in a happy place, mentally and creatively.
Not being on social media… Facebook has a lot of author and publishing and collaboration information and I know I’ve missed out on a lot, but I couldn’t trust myself to just stick to boundaries I set for myself. Will that always be the case? I hope not because I’d love to be part of a community of writers who learn and encourage and support and share with each other, but the drama shit was too mentally draining. Book Twitter became a place for judgment and gatekeeping and it was no longer enjoyable for me. Instagram just made me feel like I wasn’t pretty enough, skinny enough, extroverted enough, productive enough, or anything else enough.
I was hella distracted by all of these and with each one I deleted, I gained more of myself back.
I’m digitally minimal right now with regards to social media. I don’t know when or how that’ll change going forward, but for the time being, it’s what I need.
I’m learning to apply deep work to the things I want to get done with regards to my writing career, focusing on the things that will get me where I want to go, and learning to enjoy the journey again without the distraction of shiny things or the creativity killer, comparison.
I’ll talk to y’all soon.