Perhaps that's what I need to do. I'll think about it, I promise. But for now, I thought I'd share three of the big reading/writing activities I see on the near horizon for me in 2011.
1. Your Secret Name Read-Along at Marla Taviano's blog. This officially begins tomorrow, so I'll write a little more about it then.
2. The Bible in 90 Days read-along. I think I've read the entire Bible before. The biggest chunk I've ever read as a single effort was Genesis through Zechariah. (That's right. I made it all the way to Zechariah, but I didn’t make it through Malachi.) But my past reading of the Bible, I'm afraid to say, can be well-described by Calvin:
You will see a number of people who labor very hard indeed at reading the holy Scriptures — they do nothing else but turn over the leaves of it, and yet after ten years they have as much knowledge of it as if they had never read a single line. And why? Because they do not have any particular aim in view, they only wander about. And even in worldly learning you will see a great number who take pains enough, and yet all to no purpose, because they kept neither order nor proportion, nor do anything else but gather material from this quarter and from that, by means of which they are always confused and can never bring anything worthwhile. And although they have gathered together a number of sentences of all sorts, yet nothing of value results from them.So why read the Bible in 90 Days? Isn't that just another instance of "[doing] nothing else but turn[ing] over the leaves of it"?
Maybe. But Amy at Mom's Toolbox tells us about what reading the Bible in 90 days did for her:
The experience changed me. It enabled me to finally understand the relationship with Christ I had been growing over the years. I felt like finally I was hearing Him clearly and finally I felt that He must be hearing me, too. [emphasis mine]So, if you ask me why I want to read the Bible in 90 days, simply see the above quote, or, better yet, go to Amy's blog. In addition to participating in her blog's read-along, I'll be posting weekly updates on my progress, and thoughts on what I'm reading, here at Life Upside Down.
Many questions I had were answered… and those questions that weren’t, lost their importance.
Reading the Bible in its entirety changed me, and reading it in 90 days enabled me to get an excellent overall perspective and see just how beautifully every piece fit together.
And reading it in a group of accountability partners helped me to keep going when life seemed to get in the way.
3. Finish my novel ... in 90 days!
No, I'm not going to try to do this concurrently with the Secret Name Read-Along and the Bible in 90 days. I'm not that ambitious. Or crazy. At least not anymore.
This goal is another thing I'll write more about later--as in several months from now, after the two read-alongs are over. For now, I'll say this: I'm going to spend the first few months of 2011 thinking about the novel, praying about it, getting myself geared up to work on it. I think both of my read-alongs are actually going to contribute to these silent, inner efforts; if I didn’t, I wouldn’t do them, and I’d be diving right back into the novel instead. But instead, I’m waiting. Once the read-alongs (and my busy season at work) are over, I'm going to take on the challenge of completing my unfinished novel over the summer. I'll be using Alan Watt's The 90-Day Novel as a guide. (Part of me hates the thought of having to use a guide, but my novel-writing track record tells me it might be a good idea.)
Hmm ... I just realized that I'm referring to "my novel," but I guess I should specify which of my collection of unfinished novels I'm referring to. This is the one I started in 2007. I wrote an outline for 30 chapters, wrote the first 16 of those chapters, and then ... got a job. The job I'm at now, in fact. Work on the novel ceased, except during a one-week "staycation" that I took in 2008 for the purpose of ... you guessed it, working on the novel. It was then that I penned Chapter 17, and then ... nothing more.
It's not that I haven't wanted to work on the novel, or that the characters haven't been a part of my daily thoughts--because they have. I actually feel like they're suffering in Limbo, or dying some other sort of slow death, and that I need to get back to work and release them by telling their stories. I just ... haven't.
So, that's some of what's on the horizon for me, at least reading- and writing-wise, for the first part of 2011. If you have specific reading and writing plans for the new year, I'd love to hear about them!