I’m Reading A Book.

I’m reading a book.

Yes…I know.

How cerebral of me.

In the past year of self discovery, one of the changes I made was to read more often. In the second half of last year, I read twelve books, or so. When the new year began, I saw @JackiYo post a hashtag on Twitter that sparked my interest. I asked her what #26in2011 is and she explained it as an initiative to read 26 books during the year 2011. The tag was started by @davefleet last year when he used #26in2010. However, it was actually inspired by @julien‘s idea for a book-a-week.

What a great way for me to keep up with my reading, I thought. You see, I’m what I like to think of as a “passive-aggressive competitor”. I am competitive, but only when it’s not really an official competition. I have always felt that people are much more likely to succeed when the pressure of winning isn’t hanging over their heads. For me, it tends to be a contest with myself to excel. Then if I perform better than others, it’s an added bonus. And when I surpass everyone…well, sometimes it gets ugly.

But, I digress…

I’m currently on book #4, A Wrinkle In Time. Since joining Twitter, I have somehow connected with a large number of Young Adult (YA) readers and writers. Before Twitter, it hadn’t occurred to me to pick up a YA novel as reading material. I’m 33. I’m not a “young adult” no matter how whimsically I wish for it to be true. After seeing so many others that read YA material, I was soon reminiscing about all the books I devoured as a child. A Wrinkle In Time is in my top five favorites. So, I put down my uncertainty and picked up a book I loved to find out how it would affect me today.

Even though I had read this book so many times in my youth, its pages washed over me with a newness like the first time I read it. I remember how dearly I identified with Meg. Her awkwardness. Her insecurity. Her ability to keep everyone at arms length, yet the need to pull them all so close. The intangible connection with her brother shows her protective nature. Then an unexpected love interest gave away her vulnerable side. I remember the wide-eyed awe with which I absorbed the crosshatching of science and fantasy in the story. It was everything my tender soul needed at that age. And now, it’s able to unearth all those memories that  I hadn’t realized had been buried so deep.

Because of this book, my choice of reading material has now broadened extensively. While I love to be right, having my opinions proven wrong through my own experiences never ceases to renew my spirit. As I continue to read this year, I can now include an entire genre I had thought I had left behind me. So, thank you to all of the YA readers and writers that have opened my eyes. I thank you. My creativity and imagination thanks you.

And the 10 year old Christine Marie thanks you, too.

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Happy Anniversary To Me!

It’s been a whole year since I started this blog and I can’t believe I didn’t post on the actual anniversary! My very first blog entry was on February 13, 2010.

When I started this blog, I was confused, stressed out and trying to figure out what I wanted to do. All I knew was that writing was my goal. As I set out on my journey, I joined Twitter and found an incredible network of writers, parents and friends that helped me learn about writing. So much more than I could ever learn in any book. They showed me that the best way to be a good writer is just to be myself, and the rest can start to fall into place from there.

Looking back on the year, I am trying to access what I’ve accomplished. Persisting with this blog has helped me learn a lot about myself and where my interests lie. I’ve started a second blog, a “mommy blog”, which is still a work in progress. I have signed up for five freelance writing sites where I can submit articles. Three of these I have worked on and two are very recent.

Looking ahead, there is still so much more to do. All of this is a good first few steps, but it still feels like I’m wading through mud. There are bills to pay and time is running out. So, to move forward, it seems I need to get my ass in gear. My life could do well with a bit more discipline and focus.

This time next year, my goal is to have a “paying” writing career. And not just five cents here and there. Substantial pay that can support my family. Whether it’s as a freelance writer, or a writer for a company, whatever I do, I need to be writing. I know that it is truly what my mind and heart agree on. I’ve spent too long ignoring them in the past. After a year of rediscovering them, I can’t turn back now.

I Should Listen To Myself More Often

Me: What should I write?

Me2: I don’t know. Write about writing. That’s the point of this blog.

Me: Yeah, but I’ve been having a hard time thinking of my next entry. I think I have writer’s block.

Me2: Don’t be ridiculous. Just get to the page and let your fingers start typing. It’s what you do whenever you come here.

Me: What if my fingers won’t type anything? What if they have nothing to say?

Me2: Are you listening to yourself?

Me: Ummm….

Me2: You don’t need inspiration. You don’t need motivation. You don’t need a reason to write. Just sit down, stop being a baby and write.

Me: But I don’t know what to write ABOUT. I was thinking about an entry on how important reading is to a writer. I’ve been participating in some hashtags on Twitter with other people reading. It’s great for finding book recommendations. Or maybe the fact that I have writer’s block. I mean, what do other people do when they get it? I’m just not sure where to go with either of them.

Me2: You’re an idiot.

Me: What? There’s nothing wrong with those ideas.

Me2: You just wrote an entry.

Me: I what?

Me2: With all the fuss you made about what to write, you wrote an entry with it. This is your blog. It’s done. And you are still wondering what to write.

Me: …….

Me2: I told you. Let your fingers do the typing.

Me: Oh.

Aaaaaaaand scene.