What You, Jane Austen, Charles Dickens, and Edgar Allan Poe Have in Common

Despite the fact that we seem to think otherwise, we have the same amount of time in a week as the greats, one hundred and sixty eight hours.

We may have more distractions today, but they had cholera and diphtheria.

Often we blame the lack of time for not getting things done, but I’d like to argue that we have all the time we need, if we use it appropriately.

This past week I decided to sit down and parcel out my time. I was determined to prove to myself that my writing projects were suffering because of my lack of time and not lack of commitment. So I made an Excel spreadsheet.

After I divided up everything, spending time with my wife and kids, eating, and the occasional shower and teeth brushing, I had 1.75 hours left in each week day. I have weekends but sometimes we are traveling or out of town. I used weekdays because I wanted time I could count on to create a solid schedule.

At first I was depressed. How can I have that little? Life is busy and full and I love it, but that was a punch to the gut.

Then I added it up. 8.75 hours.

I sat back. I have ample time to write 3 blog posts, and work on my books. Add in the occasional free weekend and that time rises to 11.25 without using an afternoon or two.

So I failed. I wanted to prove to myself that I did not have sufficient time to write. Now, I realize I have all the time I need just like every writer before me. It’s up to me to use it well.

Do you have things that suck your time away that don’t match the goals you have for your life?

Favorite Holiday Reads

Snow has fallen in piles over the last few weeks in southern Michigan. We had an ice storm. Power outages. It was a cold and white Christmas.

As winter comes and snow falls my mind wanders to certain writers, books, and characters.

Michigan Winter
Michigan Winter

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes pacing his study on Baker Street while glancing out the window at the bleak snow covered London streets comes to mind.

I think of curious Lucy Pevensie walking through the columns of fur coats in a wardrobe when she suddenly hears her feet crunch on the powdery snow of wintry Narnia in The Lion, Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis.

Anything that has to do with Charles Dickens. The Tale of Two Cities, Great Expectations, and of course, A Christmas Carol.

And lastly, and most importantly, chapter 2 (NIV translation) in the Gospel of Luke telling of Christ’s Birth.

It’s not often I get in a reading mood. More often than not I’m in a writing mood. But now I want nothing more than a cup of peppermint tea and a nice steady snowfall coupled with a blanket and my comfortable couch illuminated by the white Christmas tree lights.

So readers, I turn to you. What sort of books, authors, and characters do you think of during this time of year?

Thank you in advance for your comments below.

Cheers,

Bob

 

Holiday Reads

Christmas TreeAs we approach the holiday season I start to think of books. Books that I would like to read which remind me of this time of year.

My ideal time for reading would be late at night, snow is on the ground, all is quiet in the house and the room is solely illuminated by the lights of the Christmas tree. I remember doing this while I was young and still enjoy it now, only I drink coffee.

While I peruse my bookshelves I am reminded of several books that I would consider “Christmas reads”. Either because they are popular this time of year or because reading them gives me a sense of the season. My scant list is below. Please feel free to add your own favorite holiday reads in the comment section below.

  1. A Christmas Carol – The season just does not seem complete without Marley’s ghost, Ebenezer Scrooge and the lot. I try to read this every year. It’s only a hundred pages or so.
  2. The Chronicles of Narnia (NOT the films) – Winter is a constant in Narnia when Peter, Edmond, Susan, and Lucy step through the wardrobe. The world is
    Marley's Ghost
    Marley was dead to begin with…

    never the same. I am starting with book one of the seven book children series in hopes of finishing by the New Year. Short and entertaining, a classic already.

  3. Luke chapter 2 – from the Bible. I remember my grandmother would recite this from memory just before we opened presents to remember why we celebrate this day and why it is important. I plan to do the same for my children keeping her tradition alive.
  4. Frankenstein – I know this looks like a typo. This is a Christmas list right? The myth is that Mary Shelley wrote this while cooped up as a vicious storm blew outside. Also, the book starts in the far north, during winter on a sailing vessel.  For some strange reason I am reminded of Christmas.
  5. Anything Dickens really – this is broad but my favorites this time of year are, Great Expectations, Oliver Twist, and David Copperfield.

My list is short, but this time of the year tends to be busy and I have to sneak in what I can. How about you? What do you like to read this time of year?

Cheers,

Bob