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January 4, 2019

Making Time for the Things You Love

by C. M. North


Goodreads has a way of making me feel nervous, joyous and depressed, all at the same time. I love it as a book community, but every time I visit (which is usually several times a day) I can’t help checking for new reviews of 22 Scars, which is where the nervousness comes in - what if there’s a new bad review?

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Joyous, of course, when the review turns out to be good - and more are than not, which is encouraging.

But why does it make me depressed? Well, usually because it keeps asking me to update my yearly reading goal, and every time I look at it I realize how woefully behind I am (that is to say, possibly not even started).

It’s funny that, as a writer, I find it so difficult to read. I mean, reading really isn’t that hard, right? Most people read about 150 words per minute; at even a modest hour of reading a day, I ought to be able to read an average-sized book in about a week or so. That means that, even with some downtime, I ought to be able to get through something like 40-50 books a year.

Last year I managed none.

And of course, I could make excuses - I’ve been writing, I’ve been editing, I’ve been depressed - but the honest truth is that I just never made the time. It’s really hard for me to make time to be productive; I’m usually exhausted at the end of each workday, and all I want to do is sleep. And when I’m not sleeping, and I have the energy, I try to write. It doesn’t leave much time for reading.

But it doesn’t mean I should be okay with that.

I used to love reading - it was my escape, my way out of the doldrums of life and into worlds where things really mattered. But in the past few years, I’ve just simply let it go. What time I spend reading is usually reading my own work, proofing and editing and whatnot. And the idea of getting back into it is daunting because it means time spent that won’t be on writing, or blogging, or sleeping.

But it is something that’s important to me. I want to read. I want to discover new worlds, new people and places, and see how good - and bad - other writers can be. In particular, I want to read indie books, because I want to think that my reading can make a difference to someone else’s writing - because that’s how it works for me. Every read of 22 Scars, every rating and review, is an encouragement to keep going.

Now, I’m not foolish enough to think that I can jump right in and read a book a week, starting from nothing. I think that would be a challenge beyond my capabilities, at the moment. It’s enough that I want to write a blog post each week, and get my second book finished before spring, and get to 100 reviews of 22 Scars - throwing in a book a week would probably destroy me.

But what about a book a month? Take it easy, take it slow, and simply make the time. It could be during my lunch break at work, or it could be a few minutes before bed, but I want to make the time.

After all, there are only so many hours in the day, and they have a way of filling themselves before you know it. And if you don’t make the time for the things you love, what will you end up spending your time doing?

What do you want to make more time for this year? What passions do you want to engage in, and help drive the year forward? In other words, what do you love to do?

C.M. North is a trained musician, coffee addict and author of 22 Scars, a young adult novel about teenage depression and growing up with tragedy and trauma. He lives in northern New Jersey with his wife, son and cat Pia, who insists she take precedence over writing.

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2 comments:

  1. I need to make more time for exercise this year. I've been so busy that my routine has totally fallen apart.

    ReplyDelete
  2. This was really fascinating! One of the top consistent advice from popular writers is to remember to read and not just write. It's really great you decided to get back to reading, especially since you love it too. I hope it helps your writing too! :D

    ReplyDelete

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