I beat up on myself a lot when it comes to reading. I grew up a voracious reader, going through, sometimes, more than one book a day. Since I’ve gotten older and gotten into ‘real life’, I’ve had less time and, honestly, less motivation/energy to do so. I’ve missed it, though. I love the written word. Some books have truly defined who I’ve become and how I live my life. I worship at the alter of the library, not to any church.
I was reluctant to move to an e-reader, even when Kindle and Nook took the industry by storm – there was just something about holding a fresh book in my hands, browsing the shelves at a book store, the smell of paper. I didn’t take into account how much I read outside of that singular experience.
So, what made me re-examine this way of thinking?
I was asked to edit a novella length piece on behalf of another writer.
Rather, I volunteered to.
Back in what feels like a previous lifetime, I dipped my toes into the professional editing pool. I worked on a few books that went on to be published before I moved to South Carolina. When I moved, I stopped. There was so much going on, my life was changing so dramatically and so quickly, I simply shoved such pursuits to the side and let them stay there, gathering dust.
I don’t know what made me answer the tweet from a stranger, volunteering to beta read their long-form Star Wars fanfiction. But I did and I gave myself a deadline of this to have the finished product back to the author. To her credit, she didn’t rush me at all and even as I turned it back into her, she couldn’t believe how quickly I had finished. The project ended up exceeding 30,000 words (or single-space, font size 10, 100 pages). I spent about seven hours on it, over all, and it reinvigorated my love for this kind of work.
What does this have to do with “Read More Books?” Well, I read 100+ pages of fiction this week! That should count! Right?! I think so, I think. I got up this morning and added up the word counts of my favorite fanfictions thus far this year, and we’re talking (just in favorite fics, not even counting the countless others I’ve read and not taken the time to record down) 86,703 words in the month of January!
The Great Gatsby is roughly 50,000 words, to give you a scale.
I may not have touched a great literary classic yet in 2020, but having redefined my goal to be “Read More” instead of “Read More Books,” I think I’m already off to a great start. Essays, fanfiction, meta, movie reviews… I read every single day, when I’m feeling up to it or not, and I need to start giving myself a little more credit for that.