Each 25th January I am hit with the same remorse as I recall that I have yet to make any meaningful progress on my dreams.
I think of Dwynwen, the patron saint of lovers in Wales, and I think of Robert Burns, the Scottish poet and lyricist. It’s not a coincidence that I think of these two seemingly unrelated figures, they are drawn together in my mind in great part because the 25th January is both Dydd Santes Dwynwen (Saint Dwynwen’s Day) and Burns’ Night.
Partly due to my Celtic ancestral sympathies, and partly because I have a love of, well, many things related to the both of them, such as Wales, Scotland, writing, history, culture, nature, creativity and folk-stories, my feelings feel focussed and heightened on this day. Yet each year I am reminded that I’m no further forward than the last.
This year will be different, she said.
If this year is to be any different, I must take an approach that is proactive, meaningful, and useful. Mel Robbins‘ free course Best Decade Ever, with her free attachments to print off such as her toolkits and her Dream Book, is providing a spring board for me to take some little jumps forward. I’ve written my five big dreams for the decade, I’ve narrowed that list down to just one for this year’s theme, and the theme is WRITING.
Encouraged to brainstorm via some scribbling at the bottom of my Dream Book page for 26th January, I wondered what momentum my writing would take if I gave more time to reading. After all, some of my favourite novelists already share this pearl of wisdom, so I know it but I don’t readily apply it. What if I actually, meaningfully, did?
[I am readily prepared with my own excuses as to why I don’t read more, and the biggest of all is actually less excuse and more observation: reading wears me out. Everything I now do affects my medical condition, M.E., but seeing as I already know this, I can plan around it. I don’t have to stipulate how much I read every day, and on my worst health days, this may prove to be utterly unsconscionable. But I have to give it a go.]
What if I read every day?
What if I read something every day, and gave myself a list of 100 books/publications/journals (there’s really no need to be specific) to read?
Instead of the popular pastime of Run Every Day, which I specifically can no longer do for the foreseeable future, what if I gave my brain the training, gave my heart the workout, and my mind the techniques to become a great writer? I used to run well, I could race at many different distances and terrains, and I learnt strategies to help me cope when these became tough and emotional, to say the least. Can I transfer these skills into a writing practice?
I’m going to give this a shot. I will update this page throughout the year, adding to it whenever I read a new book or something else, and record how I manage this reading (intentionally) every day idea.
My 100 Reads for 2020 (so far)
- Dreams of Gods & Monsters—Laini Taylor
- Find Your Artistic Voice—Lisa Congdon
- Mslexia issue 84
- New Scientist issue 11 Jan
- New Scientist issue 18 Jan
- A Rare Book of Cunning Device—Ben Aaronovitch
- Tales of Max Carrados: The Coin of Dionysius—Ernest Bramah
- Tales of Max Carrados: The Game Played in the Dark—Ernest Bramah
- The End of the World Running Club—Adrian J. Walker
- The Watchmaker of Filigree Street—Natasha Pulley
- The Bedlam Stacks—Natasha Pulley
- Magpie Murders—Anthony Horowitz
- The Colony—F.G. Cottam
- The Outcasts of Time—Ian Mortimer
- The Radleys—Matt Haig
- Strange the Dreamer—Laini Taylor
- Flesh Wounds—Chris Brookmyre
- The Prisoner of Brenda—Colin Bateman
- Their Lost Daughters—Joy Ellis
- Differently Morphous—Yahtzee Croshaw
- Rivers of London—Ben Aaronovitch
- Moon over Soho—Ben Aaronovitch
- Whispers Underground—Ben Aaronovitch
- The Dead Pass—Colin Bateman
- The Muse—Jessie Burton
- The Secret Life of Bees—Sue Monk Kidd
- The Secret Hours—Santa Montefiore
- The Shadow of the Wind—Carlos Ruiz Zafon
- The Sacred Enneagram—Christopher L. Heuertz
- Broken Homes—Ben Aaronovitch
- Foxglove Summer—Ben Aaronovitch
- The Angel’s Game—Carlos Ruiz Zafon
- The Furthest Station—Ben Aaronovitch
- The Hanging Tree—Ben Aaronovitch
- Lies Sleeping—Ben Aaronovitch
- The October Man—Ben Aaronovitch
- False Value—Ben Aaronovitch
- Outlander—Diana Gabaldon
- The Lost Future of Pepperharrow—Natasha Pulley
- Things in Jars—Jess Kidd
- City of Girls—Elizabeth Gilbert
- Orlando—Virginia Woolf
- Just One Damned Thing After Another—Jodi Taylor
- A Symphony of Echoes—Jodi Taylor
- The Graveyard Book—Neil Gaiman
- Talking to Strangers—Malcolm Gladwell