A Reading Challenge

reading glasses, kindle, ebooks, to be read

Lately, I’ve been busier than usual. A few months ago I made the decision to go back to school. My current “career” has turned into nothing more than a dead-end job. Earning a living as a novelist is my dream, but realistically that doesn’t happen overnight, and most writers do have day jobs. Since my day job currently sucks, a change needed to happen and going back to school was the only answer. And even though this is a good thing, it has cut into my creative time.

Writing is on the back burner for the time being, and my grand plan to make a dent in my To Be Read pile has come to a screeching halt. I haven’t read too may books so far this year, and with under six months left in 2016, I wonder if all hope is lost with my reading goals. Maybe. Maybe not.

I think this might call for a challenge. It’ll serve as motivation to cross some books off my ever-growing To Be Read pile. Twelve books from now until the end of the year sounds like a good number. Enough to where I’ll need to put forth some effort, but still an achievable goal.

The following list is my 2016 To Be Read Challenge:

1. The Taming of the Queen by Philippa Gregory
2. The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane by Katherine Howe
3. Best Friends Forever by Jennifer Weiner
4. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
5. Garden Spells by Sarah Addison Allen
6. The Beach House by Georgia Bockoven
7. Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier
8. True Colors by Kristin Hannah
9. The Sparrow Sisters by Ellen Herrick
10. Whisper Beach by Shelley Noble
11. The Four Seasons by Mary Alice Monroe
12. Silver Girl by Elin Hilderbrand

For the rest of the year I will be working my way through this list of books. Feel free to join in and read these along with me or create your own rest-of-2016 reading challenge.

 

Yarn Along: UFOs and Photography

IMG_3047

The sweater project is on a temporary hold for now.

I completed two swatches for the sweater, one on size 9 straight needles and one on size 9 circulars. My gauge was perfect on the straight needles, however, they’re too short to knit a sweater. The circulars are a hair slimmer than the straight needles and my gauge was off a bit on that swatch, so I thought I’d try a swatch on size 10 circulars.

I went on a hunt for my size 10’s and found them with an abandoned project attached to them. The bag was a little too complex for me four or five years ago when I first started, and I’d ripped it apart at least three times and re-knit it, getting to about the same point each time and screwing up the pattern. It ended up stuffed in a plastic bag, which was then stuffed into a big tote bag with several other unfinished objects.

My plans of starting the sweater this weekend were completely shot when I discovered those other projects. One thing I found was the garter stitch scarf shown above. I started it long ago and never finished. It’s a big chunky design done on size US 35 needles. I finished it up on Sunday night. I’m not really sure why I bother with scarves. I live in South Florida and have never in over 30 years of living here used a scarf, but now I have another one to add to my small collection.

The question now is – Do I work on the bag or do I just remove those size 10 needles from that project and move on to the sweater? There was also a small lap blanket found in that stash of UFOs, which is also calling my name. Decisions, decisions…

On to books.

IMG_3004I’m still reading my mystery from last week and enjoying it. I’ve been itching to get in some photography practice, so this weekend I pulled out my copy of Plate to Pixel by Helene Dujardin. I’ve been a fan of her blog for years, mainly because I have an obsession with food photography. I have no particular interest in photographing food myself, but I admire Helene’s photography skill and I’d like to learn how to become a better photographer. Hence, the reason why I bought her book. It’s been sitting on my bookshelf for over a year, and I decided it’s about time I cracked it open.

I decided to go through the book slowly and start with the basics. Right now I’m re-learning about exposure. My plan is to experiment with different exposure settings until I really understand what I’m doing and somewhat master those basic ideas. Then, I’ll move onto the next section in the book.

Over the weekend, I took quite a few practice photos, which I’ll be posting some time this week. It’ll be interesting to see how I progress.

Linking with Ginny’s Yarn Along

 

To Be Read…

to be read ... classics

Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier, Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte, East of Eden by John Steinbeck, and Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte

What’s on your To Be Read list?

Making Sacrifices to Reach Goals

In order to reach a goal, any goal, sacrifices need to be made. For example, if you want to lose weight, you need to eat less food and exercise. You might need to give up certain foods, and you’ll also need to carve out time for your exercise regimen.

In the grand scheme of things, giving up certain behaviors and activities in your life is just an inevitable part of the goal-reaching process. Once we fully grasp and understand that concept, the easier it will be to achieve those goals.

With writing, the more you do it the better you become – at least in theory. My goal is to become a published author, and in order to achieve that goal I need to make some of my own sacrifices. One of which is bowing out of a reading challenge that I signed up for at the beginning of the year. I need to devote more of my spare time to writing, which means less time spent on reading. I signed up for a few challenges but decided one will be enough.

I’ve also set a specific writing schedule for certain days of the week and decided to treat my writing as a part-time job. By doing this, I’m more apt to stick with it rather than blow it off to watch the Real Housewives, play computer games or chat on the phone.

Paring down my reading challenges and spending less time watching mindless bullshit on television are just a couple of sacrifices that I’ve made while working on my writing goals.

Now, how about you? What kind of sacrifices have you made in order to achieve past or present goals?