Goodbye Summer Reading, Hello Fall Gardening

Just one more day! Yikes! Can I finish all the things I wanted to do this summer in the one day that’s left before autumn arrives on Tuesday? I doubt it. The one thing I have accomplished, however, is meeting my summer reading goal. Challenged by Jennifer Hubbard to read ten books by September 21st, I’ve read twelve:

  1. A Sweetness to the Soul – Jane Kirkpatrick
  2. Northern Lights – Nora Roberts
  3. Outlander – Diana Gabaldon
  4. The Bancroft Strategy – Robert Ludlum
  5. Whiteout – Ken Follett
  6. Through the Valley of the Shadow – Rod Gehl
  7. Black Hills – Nora Roberts
  8. Beyond the Vows – Ed Griffin
  9. Fury of the Wind – Doris Riedweg
  10. I Luff You B.C. – Jan Drabek
  11. Word Work – Bruce Holland Rogers
  12. 6th Target – James Patterson/Maxine Paetro

My desire was to read a wider variety than is my norm. My out-of-genre choice was the first book in Diana Gabaldon’s “Outlander” series.  Anything even faintly paranormal usually doesn’t interest me but I’ve met Diana at writers’ conferences and was curious about her writing style. I surprised myself by being totally caught up in Jamie and Claire’s across-the-centuries story and Diana’s captivating prose. I am now a convert and am just delving into the second in the series, “Dragonfly in Amber”.

But as summer fades so, too, do the flowers in our garden beds and there is a staggering amount of deadheading, weeding and cutting back of perenniels confronting me every time I glance out the window. Garden or read? Read or garden? Oh, what to do? Surely the gardening can wait another day while I luxuriate in one last summertime read. Of course it can!

Goals versus Challenges and Resolutions versus Intentions

Is a goal really a goal if you have no expectation of reaching it, or is it just a pipe dream? That question returns with tongue out and fingers flapping in ears to taunt me whenever I consider accepting a challenge.

 

The first time was when I agreed to participate in the 2006 NaNoWriMo insanity. I’ve launched myself towards a 50,000-words-in-November goal on three occasions now but have yet to make it to the finish line.

 

A friend and I long ago gave up on New Year’s Resolutions. We agreed that making ambitious “resolutions” that we probably couldn’t keep is just setting ourselves up for failure, so instead we settle on sharing our “intentions”. Intentions aren’t promises in the way resolutions are, so breaking them isn’t quite as devastating to the morale. The trick is to identify the category to use at any given time.

 

Then too, it’s important to identify our capabilities. I’ve said it before: there’s no sin in being good to yourself. It’s okay to ease back on the throttle when life’s multitude of priorities threatens to overwhelm. So why, when I have more on the go than I have time or energy to cope with, do I accept more challenges? I suspect it’s because I know I work better under pressure. The more I absolutely have to get done, the more efficient I become.

 

With that in mind I recently took up Jennifer Hubbard’s Summer Reading Challenge, pledging to read ten books before September 21st. I don’t expect to have trouble meeting this challenge because I  l-o-v-e  to read. And that’s the reason I’ve also accepted Tristi Pinkston’s July Writing Challenge. It’s much too easy for me to read to the point of procrastinating on my writing, so these two challenges should balance out my efforts. I’ve committed to edit (revise yet again) at least 200 pages of my current novel and also organize the haphazard thoughts for my new w.i.p. – get them out of my head and into some kind of outline on paper – during the month of July.

 

I’m not sure where challenges fit into my interpretation of goals. Are they resolutions or intentions? Either way, I’m getting psyched up to accomplish great things this summer.  Oh, but I have to stock up on Diet Coke before I do anything else. It’s pretty hard to read or write without a cold one near by. If I share my supply with you would you like to join me for either or both challenges?