Dear Fans, Friends, Fiends, Foes, Family and Foundlings,
Another year of the 21st century is gone and still no atomic powered flying cars, personal jetpacks or colonies and mining operations on the several planets of the Solar System although we do have instant visual talk on our personal communicators and even the dumbest of most phones has more computer power than a whole roomful of computers would have had when I was growing up and reading stories about the future. Isaac Asimov, Ray Bradbury and Robert Heinlein, along with a veritable plethora of others, shaped my views of what the future would be like.
It is customary, as many of my old-time readers know, for me to make resolutions which I only keep with moderate success. Since I have had several new readers sign up to get an e-mail when the blog updates (a wise move considering my history the past couple of years) I feel obligated to write something. I have the idea that to start the new year out right I need to offer something and make a few real commitments. Before I tell my plans, my resolutions, my goals, I will do a quick recap of what has gone on and been done this year.
I read the Bible twice this year, all the way through. I had done it once in 2015 and a couple of other times but this year was the first time I ever did it twice. There was so much to be thankful for this last year as well.
I always make resolutions to you, Gentle Readers, about how much more I am going to write and then, I break them. But this year is going to be a little different. I hope to make writing more of a habit than every three months, how’s that? My friend Tony, over at Hub Citi who has a prodigious number of blogs and several books (one of which is dedicated to yours truly) gave some advice in his latest post that is totally opposite from what I have always been told. The Insecure Writers Support Group blog asked the question, “What writing rule do you wish you’d never heard?” And the answer he gave on his blog kind of shocked me. In his post titled IWSG January 2017 he said,
“Don’t write every day! I mean, if you’re doing something like NaNoWriMo, maybe this doesn’t apply (although it still can), but seriously, the worst writing you’ll ever do is if you push yourself to write for the sake of writing.
I would argue that reading every day is far more important than writing every day. Reading is the writer’s main tool of improvement. Of course, this is pointless if all you ever do is read bad writing. Challenge yourself: read the stuff other people consider classics. I know, school kind of kills the classics, right? But a funny thing happens to those things outside of the classroom: they’re so much better!”
This is a pretty drastic thing to say. I have heard over and over again how the writer is supposed to get their bottom glued to the chair and work, work, work. I think this also depends on how you work or don’t work. To be a writer you have to write but I think he makes a valid point, reading is what we as writers need to do, too. It is vital. The more you read and the more widely varied you read, the stronger your own voice becomes. And what he says about the classics is true, too, although I always loved reading and it was my love of reading that first inspired me to write. I wanted to be that guy who made people say, “Dude, hold on a minute, I’ll be right there but I just have to finish this chapter.” So we will see what happens this year.
I want to thank all of you who have been around reading my stuff when I was writing every day and stuck with me when I didn’t write at all and will be here this year to encourage and help me. Thank you, readers, new and old.
Remember, as the good book says, (the one by Roald Dahl), “…So please, oh please, we beg, we pray, go throw your TV set away, and in its place you can install, a lovely bookshelf on the wall…” – Roald Dahl from the poem Television