Where Do Books Fit In Today?

I can never remember a time I did not read nor a time I did not have a book.   Before I could read, I was read to.   Books were part of my life then and they continue to be. I wonder today in the age of electronics, are we growing a new generation of readers or is the next generation self-entertaining only with games?

I remember my grandparents reading to me from the same books they had read to my uncle and my father. When I started school  the book fair came to our town once a year.   It was then that my mom would take me to the school gym set up with books galore and I got to pick out and purchase one new book.  Many of those books I had for years.   They were a prized possession when I was young and a collection of memories when I grew up.   I had those books  until I finally gave them to my nieces and nephews many years later.

I have embraced the e-reader.   It isn’t the same a print book.   Just like a quality hard cover is not like a poorly mass-produced  hard cover, nor are either like a paperback book.   I have read several books that after reading on the reader, that I have purchased a second tie in print to add to my permanent collection of print books, but for the most part electronic works for me.  I have a small collection of print books in my permanent collection. If you are some one who has moved numerous times, you know that the cost of moving is determined by two things cube (how much space you take) and weight.   Having moved back and forth across the country three times in seven years my permanent collection was pared down to those books that had a special place in my heart.

If you read in the bathtub, you know the value of a paperback that if dropped is not a catastrophe. Many a book has a bit of a warped page and the smell of bubble bath in my past.

I support authors and the literary arts by reading the same way I have always done it.  I check books out of the library .  I buy books.   I continue to  borrow and lend books.  The difference is today I do most of it electronically.

To me the e-reader has opened up the possibilities for new writers to get published without being policed by the major publishing houses.   It is not to say that they don’t have a place, because I believe they do.   I also would say that the large publishing houses  have in some cases have prevented things being published as well,  so they have been a double edged sword.  Today  the author who is turned down by one of the big publishing houses   had limited to no options in the past, can now self-publish and see what happens.   Kind of an wild west, throw your hat into the wind and see what happens kind of environment out there right now.

The thing I wonder most about is do the e-readers help to cultivate and grow a new generation of book readers?  Is a new generation of readers being developed or being hindered with the electronic format?   I can’t imagine a picture book being the same electronically.  Maybe it is and I just don’t get it.  I love the places that books take me…the past…the future…places I will never get to travel to…people I will never get to talk to.  It was the written word and my imagination making it all happen for me.   Books have been a constant companion of mine.  Books have taught me much, expanded my horizons and shaped my view of the world.   I am thankful to everyone who encouraged my love of books.

Are you a reader?   Have your reading habits been impacted by the electronic format? I’d love to hear your thoughts on this.

 

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Sitting this One Out

Last year I participated in National Novel Writing Month.   I have always felt I  had a book floating around in my head.   In October last year I thought what better way than to participate in the event to get it out of my head and down into black and white.   So I signed up and participated.

It was a great experience.   I highly recommend it for anyone who thinks that they have a novel floating around in their head.   It kept me going and the pressure to get the words out of my head on a schedule gave me some feel what doing this for a living might involve.  I wrote every single day.   My novel moved forward excuses not allowed.

Unfortunately I am sitting this year out.   For the first time I can ever remember there is not book in my head taking shape. I am not sure why, but I chalk it up to doing so much self exploration right now.   No matter the cause this year I am sitting National Novel Writing Month out.    It is the right thing at this time.

Good luck to all the rest of you who have made the commitment to write this year.

National Novel Writing Month – Winner

I have just been declared a winner because I just finished certifying my novel for having written at least 50,000 words in November.   I wonder about being a winner because it clearly is not a complete story yet.    On the other hand it has enough words that it could easily turn into a novel if I stick with it.   I have always thought that there is a novel in me and for a host of reasons I have never gotten this far before.   It was a great experience and I plan to stick with this one and finish it up.

At the end of 30 days there is lots I have learned.

  • My writing style is pantser.   I am too analytical and if I plan my book I never get beyond planning the perfect novel.
  • I am more flexible that I thought, because the critical conflict was not anything that was on my radar when I started writing.
  • I can accomplish an ambitious goal without it taking over my life to the exclusion of other things I enjoy.  I managed to make cards, teach a creative class, watch movies, read books, visit friends, x-c ski and other things important to me in the midst of this.
  • Work will always impact your home life.   I was on the road for work and did not write for several days, but it did not prevent me from accomplishing a personal goal.   Don’t let work be an excuse for not accomplishing your personal goals.
  • I like creative writing.   It provides a place for all those voices in my head to find a outlet.
  • Longer stories are much harder than short stories, blogs and other writing I have done.
  • Being a writer made me a much more attentive reader.
  • I like writing dialogue.
  • My business writing skills, as good as they may be, are not sufficient alone to support creative writing.
  • I will be looking to take some creative writing classes.
  • I will be looking for a writer’s group to support and question me as I work through the editing process.

Thanks for those who were along for the ride.  It is only the first time around the track and I can see that there is at least another lap or two to be made before I finish this race.

I love this poster and may have to just get one for myself. It captures so much of what goes on in a writer’s mind, or at least my mind this last month.

Never Give Up

This is just past the half-way mark for National Novel Writing Month. I should have passed the 25,000 word mark this week.   I must say this week has been less than stellar for making progress and I am not where I should be.   I was on the road this week with work.   It was a week fraught with other things pulling at me in all directions none of them giving a rip roar about  this little adventure I was on.   Now it seems that I am coming down with something nasty and my head is not doing a lot of clear thinking.   It sounds like I am going to throw in the towel.

I thought about quitting.    I even stayed in bed late this morning hoping a little more sleep time would make me feel better.   It did not and I considered giving up for this year.  Then I thought about a friend who in just a few minutes will be starting her first half-marathon tonight in LasVegas.   She is doing it with friends, one of whom had this on her life list.   The other five are just there for moral support.   She is busy, with as many things as I have, pulling at her as well.   In the midst of this training she has come down with knee and foot problems.   It would have been easier for her to quit, but she made a commitment not only to her friends but herself to be there for her friends.

I made this commitment to myself, and I plan to keep it.  If you are thinking of quitting, don’t just yet.   Hang in there for yourself, it was important enough for you to start it, don’t let yourself not finish it. If you are not working on some goal right this minute, be there to encourage your family and friends who are.   I curse the lost of anonymity on the internet all the time, but for once I am having fun watching and cheering on my friend who I can’t be  there for virtually.   I  plan to be one of the first to text my friend when the live race reporting shows her bib number has crossed the finish line.   I am proud to be in the company of those who never give up.

 

Novel Progress Report

Well I am nine days into this adventure and still going strong.   I have written just over 14,000 words.   This is good in that I am on target to finish if I continue to write like I have been.    But when I think about my goal of 50,000 words by the end of the month it is true that I am not very far in the process.  I sometimes wonder what I have written so far, and RangerSir has hinted he’d like to read it.  I have started this process before and not finished each time so am going to write until the voices in my head tell me it is over or the end of the month whichever comes first.   No getting diverted by early editing.

The good part of all of this writing is that for the most part my real life has not gone down the toilet or put on hold because I am spending all my time writing.   I still have a my job and show up and work each day.   I am carrying my load around the house, not letting RangerSir do a disproportionate amount of the general household chores ( I have a white chicken chilli in the crock pot, my last load of laundry in the drier, and manged to go to down and grocery shop before the mega storm arrives).  I still have carved out time to enjoy some of my other creative ventures including teaching a class, making some cards, blogging a little and reading some for pleasure.   Now that it sounds like I am having it all that is not true, my exercise program in almost nonexistent and I have two Christmas gifts to make that are not even started.    Life isn’t perfect but it is damn good and someday who knows I may call myself a novelist.   You just have to write one not publish one to call yourself novelist, but if I get lucky I could do both.

Now it is time to close this off and get back to the business of writing.

Childhood Goals-To be a Writer

One of my earliest dreams was to be a writer.   My first memory of wanting to be a writer harks back to the second grade shortly after I learned to read.   Learning to read opened my eyes and minds to amazing things.   I wanted to create that same perfect experience for some one else that a book created for me.

It is easy to want to be something, but to follow through and actually do it is hard.

I was raised during a time when wanting something for yourself always seemed a bit selfish.

First there is the follow through to the end.  So often our dreams seem lofty and out of our reach.   We tend to start toward them, but we don’t have the confidence or refuse to make the time to achieve our dreams.

One of my earliest dreams of what adulthood looked like, I would be a primary school teacher teaching children to read, and in the summer I would spend my days on the beach writing books and painting.

Yep. I can string words together to make a sentence, and then string a few sentences together into a paragraph.   That makes me a writer.  A writer of books well that I am still working on that.

All Books are Not the Same

 “I have always imagined that Paradise will be a kind of library.” ― Jorge Luis Borges

With the advent of the E-reader life has changed for want-to-be writers.   It has become easy to by pass the gatekeepers of what gets published and what doesn’t,  the editors of all the publishing houses, and self-publish.

In some ways this era of self-publishing  is good, because the big publishing houses have not always done a great job of recognizing a new author or genre.   The famous 50 shades series began as self-published after being turned down by big print publishing houses.   It was only after she self-published did she hit the NYT best seller list.    I think part of it is because because this major publishers want to find that next piece of great literature, or Pulitzer prize winning title.

Most people read for relaxation, and what they read is a guilty pleasure.  Most of what ends up on best seller lists never makes any literary milestones other than selling a ton of books.     Mr. Ranger Sir reads classic sci-fi, though that genre is becoming so much more segmented and specialized I am not sure what sci-fi means any more.  A friend reads everything Nora Roberts publishes.  Another family member devours biographies everything from celebrities to historic people who changed the world.   A cousin enjoys Christian historical fiction.  My mom and her group of friends swap pulp romances that they read by the hundreds.     I enjoy the “who done it?” with an imperfect middle aged female protagonist.

If you are a veracious reader it also an expensive habit.   Prior to the E-reader you depended on friends sharing books,  used book stores, rummage sales and your local library to make your addiction affordable.   With the E-reader it takes a little more effort to keep your reading habit from sending you to the poor farm. E-books are often not lendable, or if so only once!   Libraries are as a good of a deal as they were before you had an E-reader, you just need to get signed up and start checking books out.   There are lending sites for eBooks out there, though not widely use I have found success with one (lendle.me) and will continue to put my purchased books out there, lending and borrowing titles.  I also watch the daily Amazon top 100 free books.   I have picked up titles that big names are a giving away for an hour or two.    I have also taken out many unknowns.   Some have prompted me to buy others by the same author.   Others were worth just what I paid for them nothing.    After a chapter and it is clearly not worth the read, I go to the end, give it one star and delete it.   Without taking a minute to rate the book, you are doing other readers and the author a disservice.   We all need feedback.   If you want to write a review go for it, but just giving it a rating helps to let folks know if free is good or not.   If you are the only one star it won’t make a difference, if you are part of a crowd who was disappointed the rating will help tell the story.

In the meantime summer is a great time for reading and relaxing may you find a great guilty pleasure.