Thursday, 23 July 2015

Book Hoarding

When the title says book hoarding, I don't mean what you might think. Though there is some traditional book hoarding going on.

I buy books that I know I'm going to love and then I don't read them. They sit there for delayed gratification but some have been on my shelves for years, waiting for me.

For this reason, I'm not good with new authors. There are other reasons, but I don't try new books and new authors very often.  Though I do have three book shelves of books I reread and revisit at different, but regular, intervals.I have so many favorites that branching out goes against my inborn laziness. It's the same for new TV shows, different movie genres and even travel spots. I prefer the known.

I'm not sure what will ever entice me to read a book once it's been put in my 'later because I'll love it and need to devote proper time to it' pile. I know there are a few books I wish I could read again for the first time and somehow, I think these books will be those. And I'm afraid to read them for the first time because then they'll be eaten up and digested and I'll never get to do it again.

Funnily enough, I just had that experience again, not long ago. I read Ursula Le Guin's The Tombs of Atuan, unsuspectingly. I won't ever get to read it again for the first time but I'm so glad I did read it. I doubt I've learned my lesson though. I still have a Robin McKinley book I've been afraid to touch, which is clearly ridiculous.

Friday, 10 July 2015

Numbers as Motivators

Like a lot of 'word' people, I'm not overly comfortable with numbers. I'm not a confident mathematician when it comes to percentages and decimals and fractions and a lot of the things I should be conversant with. But that doesn't mean I don't like the numbers.

Because Excel is more number based (therefore confusing and something I get frustrated with) I prefer to play with my numbers in different ways. I like counting and writing things out in graphs and lists that aren't on Excel.  I have a giant whiteboard that takes up half of one of my study walls where I like to keep most of my numbers.

To motivate myself, I have lists upon lists of numbers. I get competitive with myself, trying to beat last year's numbers or last week's. This isn't always sustainable because I travel a lot and lose time and habits that way. I have a journal I kept for a year where I meticulously wrote down my numbers for the day. Of course this habit has died.

But there are some stats I will always watch. Money isn't one of those. Many people find money motivating but for writing, I prefer to look at the words. I keep a detailed count of my yearly words, short stories, novellas, anthologies. I like to see how many of each thing I'm writing, the words I've put into short story form versus novel form and how much I'm managing each year. I can see the good years and the bad and what I need to aim for.

Last year I wrote 233,980 words. Better than the year before but below what I know I can do. There have been reasons, excuses, a lot of traveling and a lot of busyness. But those numbers are a stark reminder of reality. Reasons and excuses don't end up on the board, just the numbers. This year, I can do better.

Just because we're 'word' people doesn't mean we can't like numbers. Instead of motivational quotes, which I know many people love, I keep my motivational counts where I can see them. Everyone needs to find their own motivator and keep it in sight.

People often say that motivation doesn't last. Well, neither does bathing- that's why we recommend it daily. -Zig Ziglar