I admit to rarely (if ever) bothering to read entire articles printed in the RWR (Romance Writers Report), the monthly magazine printed for and by RWA (Romance Writers of America). But this month’s “The Last Word,” written by Jillian Clemmons, screamed at me.
“Are Books Your Crack?” was the title. Simple answer? Yes, yes they are.
I knew that I didn’t even need to bother to read the “Eleven Ways to Tell if You’re Addicted” to know that I had a serious problem. One look at my Quicken expense report on how much I spent on books last year would be enough. I had one bill totaling over $100 in one trip. That’s bad, folks. And there’s no Readers Anonymous meetings for those of us compelled to read more than we write. Still, I feel compelled to share this list. And no, I’m not going to tell you which ones I’m guilty of.
– Your bookshelf is stuffed with unread books, and you just bought one more.
– You have a different audiobook every day… for your car, laptop, and iPod.
– The library clerk has to remind you, again, that you’re at your limit for check-outs.
– You have more than 200 friends on Goodreads.com, but the local librarian is your best bud.
– The only writing you do is book reviews. (Okay, so clearly doing a review of this article makes me guilty of this one.)
– People have begun to follow your reviews.
– You’re skimming a magazine on the elliptical machine, while you’re listening to a book on tape.
– There are more than 500 books on your to-read list.
– Friends say they’re amazed at how many books you’ve read. Repeat: read, not written.
– Neighbors marvel at your ability to walk the dog while reading.
– Your family resents books.
While the above list can easily be laughed at and even seem somewhat extreme, it is actually a real problem for me and can very much be blamed as one of a few reasons why I haven’t finished one of my manuscripts yet. (I plan on covering the other reasons another day.) The article listed twelve steps to recovery, but that list is somewhat longer and more involved and not necessarily relevant to me. So, I’m going to use parts of it to create my own fail-proof method for making sure I get some writing done.
- No more buying books for a while until I get through the books on my shelf. Now, I know this sounds harsh, but it will also put money back in my pocket. I’m excluding books purchased with gift cards and I’m also excluding the possibility of utilizing the library. We’ll see how this goes.
- I must limit myself to reading no more than one non-craft book a week. If I’m reading more than one book a week then there’s the potential for all sorts of things not getting done in my life. So this is just good practice.
- I’m not allowed to read until I’ve written at least 1,000 words on a weekday or 100 words on a weekend. Breathe, Kathryn, you will live through this one. This also goes for craft books.
- Leave the dishes there. They will still be there later. So will the laundry, the cleaning, the bills… ugh.
- Take a solid week off from reading. Eek! This was one of the suggestions from the article, but I admit that I am too weak to even think of doing this one right now. I just started a new-to-me series and I want to get through the most current one before I do this. I hate forgetting what happened in prior books. So yeah, that’s my excuse. Lame, I know, but…moving on!
- Set goals for myself. Again, taken from the article. Letting these manuscripts drag on unfinished for however long it has been now is tragic.
- Stay away from time-wasting websites and no logging into Yahoo! Messenger during writing time. This will be another hard one. So if you see me online when I should be writing, throw a virtual shoe at me?
With any luck, some or all of these will help push me closer to finishing one or all three of my current manuscripts in progress.