Friday, January 15, 2010

Writing Inspires...


There's a lot of goal setting going on in blogosphere lately. I'm still not settled with my list to log mine for the world to see, but there is one that I would like to share now.

My reading goal for 2010.

One of my dear bloggers, Tabitha, has set her reading goal for 2010 at 50 books. That's an awesome goal, but for a slow reader like myself, I'm going a little lax and setting my goal at 36. That's three books a month. I imagine some months I'll go over and others I'll be under, but in the end as 2010 draws to its end, may my 36 in 12: Eileen's 2010 Reading Stack list on the sidebar reveal my reading goal met--ah, yes, sweet success--that's what I long for with at least one of my 2010 goals. And that's a measurable goal, for all you out there with your goal rules set in stone. Absolutely love how committed you all are to goal setting and defining the parameters around it all. [And, no, I'm not worried about any of you experiencing OCD. Really, I'm not!]

As noted often here in cyber space and even in books, many authors are adamant that to become a truly good writer, you must be an avid reader. I agree totally with them on this, but what concerns me is that many of us wannabe writers automatically think the reading element of that equation is limited to published works.

I'm attempting to squash that theory. Partly because I'm such a slow reader that I can't possibly keep up with the suggested reading goals flying around out there, but also because I doubt very much that these prolific authors are still in large critique groups, and reading and editing for dear friends, to help and learn along the way with unpublished works as well.

I mean, it takes time and brain-draining mental exercise sometimes to help other writers hone their craft. I'm not saying it isn't fun brainstorming better ways to pull something off on the page, but it is of value and I think it should count as part of a writer's reading quota. What do you all think? Should reading unpublished works count, or not?

I must add here that after a disappointing run with reading, I'm finally falling in love with it again. You see, I've been reading, errrr, attempting to read, many Steeple Hill Love Inspired novels as usual since it has long been my goal to write for that line, but sadly something has changed either in me, or in the quality of that line as of late.

I've come to the decision that I'd rather spend $10 to $20 on one novel that will likely please me, than $4 times 3 or 4 of the LI's each month that mostly seem to disappoint and I have no problem never finishing. They just don't grab me like they used to and I no longer route for the hero or heroine from the start. This is so sad, because truly, I love the concept of a concentrated sweet romance that can be read in a day for most readers, two for slow me, but my frustration has me drawn away from that line for now. However, I still plan to pick up the LI's written by choice authors I want to support and trust won't disappoint with their offerings. So hopefully you'll still see me recommending an LI here and there on this blog, but notice how rare they've been as of late? Now you know the reason.

Anyway, take a look over at my sidebar and see the 2010 Reading Stack list for what has me excited once more about reading. The fiction (F) book I'm currently reading is not at all what I expected, it's so much BETTER!!!! Thanks, Laura, for inspiring my love of reading once more!!! I appreciate you and your writing so very much!

Oh, and in case you were wondering, I did get pictures of Penny up on the last post. If you didn't catch them, scroll further down for a peak at how beautiful this large pony is. She's so friendly, too, and loves receiving treats!! May your weekend be filled with cherished family and friends time, and when you find yourself smiling or laughing, may you lift your eyes in a tender moment of gratitude for our Heavenly Father for all the good He has given you. Blessings prayed for you all!

PS. If you're interested in entering a book giveaway for a hightly recommended YA novel. Check out Georgiana's post today. Sounds like a good one to me.

Surrendering to Him,



Tabitha Bird said...

Well, I am glad you are inspired to set a goal for reading. That was me with the 50 books for 2010. I am a quick reader though, so I know not everyone can set that kind of goal. I am glad you have a goal that suits you. And I agree with you, reading any material (published or unpublished) counts! all the best with that reading.

Jessica Nelson said...

I LOVE reading! And why shouldn't unpublished works count? They're stories, right? :-)
About LI...I never said anything because I thought maybe it was just me. I have to agree with you, unfortunately. It's rare that one inspires me to read to the end. I think, sadly, it just has to do with the formula type of writing. I need juicy twists. It could be from us being writers too. As a reader, I never analyzed about how a book was set up and rarely did I plot its course, but as a writer, I'm too aware of turning points, foreshadowing, etc. It can take the adventure out of a story, sometimes.
I hope you find some awesome authors this year. :-)

Katie Ganshert said...

I definitely think unpublished work should count. I'm about to crit one of Erica's novels and I'm SUPER excited to try to help, but mainly to just read the dang story! :)

That's tough when you go through a reading dry spell. I've never read very many LI books. I've a read a few that I haven't liked a whole lot. And one that I really enjoyed. Betsy St. Amant's...her LI book was GREAT! I'm excited to read her next one in Feb. :)

Jennifer Shirk said...

Yes, I think unpublished work counts, too! For sure!!
36 books is a very reasonable goal. I read 48 last year--in addition to crits and beta reads-- so I'd like to read at least 50 this year.

You know, I'm glad you said that about Steeple Hill. I really LOVED that line and lately have been kind of "meh" with them, too. I'm finding the same thing with their Harlequin Romance line.
What's up with them lately?!

Eileen Astels Watson said...

Tabitha, thanks for reminding me who it was. My mind just can't keep all the wonderful blogs apart some days. I altered the post to include the link I so wanted to put in in the first place.

Jessica, Katie, Jennifer, you're all early birds! Good Morning!

Yes, Jessica, I think you might be right on the formula thing, but the characters also seem 2-dimensional to me lately. They just aren't near as good as they used to be. Sad really. I did LOVE that line, too.

Jennifer, I'm with you. I'm grieving the loss of it and so wish HP were easier to get hold of for those concentrated sweet romances around here, but I have to order them and I really don't want to go that route too often.

Katie, I wish I were in your shoes. I'll love to read Erica's books before they came out. You are sooooooo lucky!

Georgiana Daniels said...

36 books is a great goal! And it's worth it to get the ones you want, and the ones you can learn from. This year, I'm going the opposite direction--I have to slow down my reading in order to glean more time from the day. I was SO set on reading being part of my training (and it still is) that I'd get too absorbed in that aspect. My goal is to back down to 1 book per week.

Wendy Paine Miller said...

Yup, counts.

I'm a soaker too. I might be reading six books at once, but I take my time and make no apologies for it. Some books deserve all my time and attention.

Have a blessed weekend.
~ Wendy

Anna Scott Graham said...

First, great photos of your girls!!

Second, I concur that reading needs to be tailored to one's own pace, and tastes. If you find those novels no longer give you the same enjoyment, move to books that do stimulate. Nothing is worse than trying to digest that which doesn't hit your heart or hold your interest.

I read all sorts of things, from news articles to short stories online to whatever grabs my fancy. As long as you find it meaningful, who is to say?

Linda Kage said...

Yes, I'd say non-published books definitely count, espeicially ones you're reading for a critique group because you're paying a lot closer attention to the way it's written and learning more than you would from an already published book.

The horse is beautiful. Thanks for sharing pictures.

Joanne said...

I definitely think editing a ms in a critique group counts. It's a different type of reading, really getting into the mechanics of language and technique. There's so much to learn from all kinds of reading, good stuff we bring back to the page.

P.S. Penny is GORGEOUS. Your girls must love her, and she looks pretty glad to be with them too.

Sarah Forgrave said...

I usually try to read about one book per week, but I don't kick myself if it doesn't happen. I'm fairly new to reading LI books, and I'm glad I'm not the only one who's been disappointed. There are a couple I've read that were very good, but in general some of them were just too sweet for my tastes.

Warren Baldwin said...

Good post. I think anything we read of importance and value, whether published or not, is worthwhile. Also, I think it is helpful to read outside of the genre we write in. I write nonfiction, but have in the last couple of years been rading a fair amount of fiction.

I only saw 2 books of your 2010 reading list. Were they all supposed to show up? wb

Tana said...

I've been ripping though books this year. The higher quality books ALWAYS cost more and yes they are worth it. i did read a few of the lil's myself and learned what not to do in my craft lol ;)

Clementine said...

Oh so true. I love finding that story that takes me out of matter how much it costs!

Julie Dao said...

That's a terrific reading goal! I tried for 50 last year and only ended up around the 30 mark. I hope I'll find time to read this year!

Jeanette Levellie said...

Wow, I admire that tall goal of yours! I will do well to finish 12 this year, but most of mine are nf and craft books, so they go slower.

Thanks for posting the photo; I'm on my way to view it now...

Tamika: said...

Reading is my first passion! I agree with Stephen King and others, that reading is a necessary part of being a writer. You must love to read!

I'm joining in Tab's challenge, probably the easiest goal for me to complete this year.

Happy reading!

Patti Lacy said...

As bad as I am at math AND recordkeeping, I will never know the true number, and it doesn't bother me t'all!

Great post, as usual!

Anonymous said...

I love to read also, but mostly other's blogs and world news. Occasionally, a book will catch my interest then I can barely put it down!

Hope you have a wonderful weekend! Sending warm hugs your way!

Susan R. Mills said...

Unpublished works definitely count. That's about all I've had time for lately with my critting responsibilities.

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Eileen -

I love reading. If there's any chance I'll have a free moment, I take along a book.

Read for the sheer enjoyment of it. If you make your goal, great. I'd rather read one fabulous book than three ho-hum offerings.

Susan :)

Karen Lange said...

Good post:) Have a wonderful weekend!

Dul├že ♥ said...

My reading focuses on blogs these days... like Tabitha's- and yours now!

thanks for coming by!
Nice and warm weekend!

Janna Leadbetter said...

I've never thought to set a book-reading goal. I just take for granted that I'll always have one on hand. And it's true; I read a little every night before bed, always, and if it's a really good one I steal snatches throughout the day, too.

Good luck with your 36, Eileen!

quietspirit said...

I also haven't thought of setting a reading goal for the year. I am dealing with some issues in real life and I might need to spend my time on those points for a while.

Cindy R. Wilson said...

I'm glad you're excited about reading again. There's so much joy to be found in books but only if we're reading what truly entertains or inspires us.

I had to go back to the last post to see pictures of Penny. I'm so glad you posted them--and oh my gosh! She's BEAUTIFUL! Can't wait to hear more about her :D

Tea with Tiffany said...

I've never set a reading goal but I love to read books.

Hope your new year is starting out light!

Hugs from Colorado!

Laura Frantz said...

Eileen, What a wonderful way to end my week! Hearing I've helped spark your need to read is the best thing I've heard for some time now:) You are a dear, dear friend and I thank you for your precious comments!!

Keli Gwyn said...

Eileen, I love your reading goal. What a great idea. I look forward to your updates.

Laura's book The Frontiersman's Daughter was one of the best I read last year. It wasn't what I expected, but it was a real treat. Laura is an extremely talented writer and has a wonderful Voice. And she's such a generous, sweet person, isn't she?

Robyn Campbell said...

Unpublished works DO count Eileen. And I just finished beta reading one. I hope to improve my numbers of books read from last year, but who knows.

Penny is super beautiful and your daughters are too. I'm very excited about this season.(hunter) Good luck to your daughters and to Ivy.

I'm unplugging next week. Need the time to prepare to query anyway. So it's good I unplug, that's for sure. I'll see you after. Please be safe and happy weekend.

Kimberly Conway said...

I would love to set a writing goal for the year! But with the writing, blogging and critiquing, I think I'll have to set my goal somewhere around 12. A book a month. That's doable for me. If you have any suggestions on a great book I should add to my list, visit my blog and drop me a line!

Betsy St. Amant said...

Thanks for your honesty, Eileen. As an LI author, I agree to a point - even though I write for the line, I don't love all of the books. But probably most authors can say that about their publishing house. Tatste is so subjective. LI books ARE very clean and sweet, and the authors are held to guidelines to achieve that goal of the publisher. I actually read an LI myself recently that I didn't finish. Again, probably happens with every line. I'm happy to be writing for LI for the time being, and hope that my stories can help break the mold that some readers see.

Thanks Katie for the shout out for my RETURN TO LOVE =)

Eileen Astels Watson said...

Betsy, you're one of the authors who will keep me buying from the line. Not being able to predict every move in the story is a huge with keeping my interest and you proved to be great at that with your debut novel with them last year. I'm looking forward to Return to Love coming out.