At the start of the year I set myself the goal of reading ten books for the annual Goodreads Reading Challenge. As I mentioned in a blog post earlier in the year, the reason for setting such a modest target was that every previous reading challenge I participated in ended in failure. This was typically the result of never having enough time to read as many books as I would like. But this year, much to my surprise, I read my ten books by the end of January. At the time, the ease with which I successfully completed the challenge caused me to contemplate the possibility of reading fifty-two books by the end of the year―an average of one book read a week―although I’d settle for twenty-five. Today this seems like wishful thinking.
While I may not have done much in the way of writing during January, I was able to do more reading than usual. Enough reading, in fact, to help me successfully complete my Goodreads reading challenge, for the first time ever, by the end of the month. And this was despite losing a week of reading time to the flu. Admittedly, the target of ten books I set myself is miniscule compared to the goals of many other Goodreads users, but given how many obstacles life typically throws in front of me it still represented a challenge, albeit a modest one.
I have been a Goodreads member since 2013, and every year since 2014 I have participated in the annual Goodreads Reading Challenge, wherein users set themselves a goal for how many books they will read over the course of the year. For various reasons (the principal one being I chose not to include re-read books) I have yet to successfully complete a reading challenge; and progress on my current one isn’t going so well. I am way behind schedule.
There are two pieces of writing advice that I can guarantee every aspiring author received (on numerous occasions) while pursuing their writing ambitions. The first advice is “read a lot,” and the second is “write a lot.” Both are simple, straightforward tips that likely seem so obvious you might wonder why anyone would find it necessary to give such advice. But there is a reason this advice is repeated so frequently; they are both crucial activities in helping writers to perfect their craft. And here are my thoughts as to why this is so.