It's January 1 and most of us are contemplating how 2016 will be different (hopefully better) than 2015. I have no complaints about this past year - I've been blessed with good health, and I'm still surrounded by family and good friends. We aren't in any financial trouble, and I'm still managing to sell books (not a whole lot, but enough to keep me motivated).
The problem is, writing started to become more difficult for me. I'd set aside time to write and end up staring at the screen until I found something else to do (writing promo posts, creating memes, even cleaning drawers!). A few weeks before Thanksgiving I noticed I was way behind on my Goodreads reading challenge of 50 books and decided to give up on the writing and concentrate on reading. Somehow I managed to read 20 books in 6 weeks and completed the challenge.
I realized a few things while taking my extended vacation from writing. First, my holiday stress level decreased once I gave myself permission to take writing off my daily "to do" list. Less stress, especially at Christmas time, is always a good thing.
Second, once I devoted more time to reading, I discovered lots of new-to-me authors. Some are are good, and some have potential. I confirmed my belief that I've done the right thing (for me) by going through a publisher who retains excellent editors and talented cover artists. And there's a camaraderie between authors who write for the same publisher, so I have another group of professionals with whom I can brainstorm, problem-solve, and commiserate.
Third, I discovered that reading opened up creative channels in my mind. I'd read a scene and think, "That works, but I think I would have done it this way." Or sometimes I'd wonder if my plots were as simplistic and uneventful as some I read.
Last, and most important, I found I enjoy supporting my fellow authors by reading their work - especially when I write reviews! We're always asking people to read and review for us, so it only makes sense that we should do so too.
So in addition to maintaining my TBR list, I'm resolving to leaving a review (usually on Goodreads, since that extremely large online book outlet tends to delete reviews written by authors in the same genre) for each of the 50 books I plan to read this year.
How about you!