Changing the world's opinion… as soon as we finish this math homework
Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about excuses and procrastination. As anyone who knows me can tell you, I am a world-class procrastinator. A lot of writers are, unfortunately. Even though we love writing with all our hearts- really, we do!- somehow we find ourselves avoiding writing and doing anything else instead. And we’ll come up with all sorts of excuses. I don’t have any time! I have writer’s block! Lots of great writers put off writing for months, probably!
We do the same thing with reading. Now, I don’t mean to be some crotchety old person yelling that technology is evil, because I am very much the opposite of that. But somehow I find myself spending more and more time scrolling through websites and less time reading books, short stories, and poems. I mean, it’d be one thing if I were reading e-books or using websites to find creative writing pieces, but I don’t. And I know so many other writers and readers do the same thing. I remember in tenth grade, my AP English class all started talking about how as kids, we were all voracious readers, checking out piles of books from the library each week and devouring them quickly- but now, we’re lucky if we read one book in a month.
Part of these problems can be chalked up to the fact that as teenagers or young adults, we have more responsibilities than we did before, and less time to do the things that we love, like writing and reading. And at the end of the day, after doing tons of work, it’s exhausting to put in the effort to digest a complicated story or, even harder, create your own. It’s so much easier to laugh at terrible jokes and watch YouTube videos. And I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with terrible jokes and YouTube videos, with relaxing when you’re tired. But the things that we love, the reasons we get up in the morning for most of us, are books. Reading books and writing books and getting excited about those books. So if we’re not spending time doing those things, then what’s the point?
I hope this doesn’t come across as preachy, because trust me when I say I am probably more guilty than any of you of avoiding reading and writing despite loving both of those pursuits. But instead of feeling bad about all this procrastination, let’s do something about it. Let’s find ways to fight against all the parts of us that go “uggghhh give me the Internet instead” by pushing books back into our lives. I was inspired by my actual superhuman friends and TCWT team members, Kira and Julia, who both made New Year’s Resolutions to read a set number of books this year and last year. I’m aiming lower than they are, with a goal of 36 books, which would probably make my ten-year-old self super disappointed in me, but it’s more than I read last year. To be honest, I’m having difficulty choosing books, despite the fact that there are so many books I still haven’t read. So I had an idea.
This month’s theme is “Books I Love.” In the comments of this article, post some book recommendations, of the books you love but that you think people might not have read yet. I’m going to at least start reading all of your recommendations by the end of the year, and I suggest that other people having this problem do the same. I’ll start by giving my own recommendation: “The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland,” by Catherynne M. Valente. It’s an easy-to-read whimsical fantasy book, and it’s a great place to start getting back into reading.
And if you don’t feel like taking the recommendations of complete strangers, you will soon have the chance to take the recommendations of kind-of-not-really strangers. The TCWT and Ch1Con teams are working on creating a book club based on how certain books help us with our own writing. There will be more details on this soon, but I hope this combination of community and good books will get me (and all of you who have this problem) back into reading.
Thanks for reading this, and please leave a recommendation in the comments if you want!