Happy July everyone! And happy Independence Day to all the Americans! (To my British friends—no hard feelings, I hope. Wish it could've gone down differently, because I really do love y'all!)
Can you believe that we're in the second half of 2016?
I mean—WHOA. The first half just flew past me! It's like I stepped on a banana peel somewhere in the middle of January and just sailed all the way to this point.
Halfway through the year. Whew!
It's been such a blur! So this is a really good time to pause and take stock, right? To check in with how everything is progressing and to see what's needed next.
How are things going for you? What's been awesome in the first half of the year? What's gotten a little off track?
Wherever you're at, midyear is the ideal time to ask three things:
1) What wins from the first half of the year can you celebrate?
2) Where do you need to release guilt around anything that hasn't gone well?
3) How can you tweak, reframe, and readjust, so that some things run more smoothly during the next six months?
Yes? Can I get an amen?
Personally, I'm celebrating a renewed dedication to cultivating my creativity. I'm rereading The Artist's Way and looooooooving it!! You will definitely be hearing more about that in the months to come!
I'm also reading Brené Brown's work and dealing with some scars I have from the past—weird messages that I picked up about using my gifts, creating, and being noticed.
It's a little heavy, but oh-so freeing!
And I can't tell you how excited I am for the next chapter of my writing life. It's gonna be amazing, thanks to all the (totally unexpected!) head and heart work I'm doing this summer.
Whew! So, a fistful of confetti goes into the air over all that!
What about you? What can you celebrate?
It's so important to appreciate the good stuff that's happened. Otherwise, if you're like me, you can overfocus on all the tough things, and forget how far you've come!
And that's a self-defeating mindset to bring into the rest of the year. Mmm.
So: let's dance for a sec.
... And now, what needs some attention, some extra love, some change?
For me, there is one part of a healthy writing life that I have totally neglected for the last few months. As in—completely.
I haven't been reading fiction lately.
But I just haven't. I lost my appetite somewhere in all that happened this spring. And instead of my usual reading material, I drowned myself in non-fiction.
Maybe it was because I suddenly felt like I had a zillion problems to solve?
I plunged into The Desire Map, and I re-re-re-re-reread A Writer's Paris, and fell into The Artist's Way (hallelujah!!), and tumbled into Brené Brown's The Gifts of Imperfection (WHOA, recovering perfectionists, you gotta grab that one!!), and Marie Kondo's The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up.
I've been reading plenty!!
Just not that lifegiving and gorgeous stuff we call fiction.
I'm not going to feel guilty about it: I know exactly how and why I got here. So, guilt, begone!
But I still want to make some changes about that. I need fiction. So guess what July is going to be about for me. ;)
At my college—hopefully this happens at every college!—we had two days off right around finals time, for studying. But they didn't call it "Order a Bunch of Pizzas and Study Your Brains Out" days, though that's what we did.
They gave it the somewhat old-fashioned (and in my opinion, totally adorable) name, Reading Recess.
I always loved the image that conjured up in my mind. A recess, a break, just for READING.
Welp, that's exactly what's needed right now. I'm declaring July the month of Reading Recess.
Specifically? I'm gonna launch myself into reading four novels in four weeks.
I know—for you mega-readers, that's not much. But part of why I haven't been reading fiction is because my life and living situation is craaazy right now. I'm in a kind of survival mode.
Four novels in four weeks is gonna be a big deal for me.
So, I have to clear some time for reading somehow! To make the space in my schedule, my Thursday posts for July are going to be a little different—much more brief, just quick check-ins.
(Unless I get super carried away talking about what I'm reading. Which, let's face it, can definitely happen around here.)
Sound okay with you?
So that's my challenge. That's what ambitious looks like for me this July.
What about you? How has your reading habit been lately? Do you have a stack of books calling you? A genre or a reading project you need to check in with?
Do you have this nagging feeling that, like me, you haven't been reading nearly enough lately?
Because I'd love the company! What if we all took July to plunge in, to go deep, with whatever we most need in our reading lives?
Or, maybe your fiction habit is tip top. Maybe there's something else tugging at you.
What little challenge feels exciting and daring right now? What sounds inviting? What would be completely yummy for your writing life?
Look, it's July. And where I live, it's the summeriest part of summer.
This is the perfect time to look around, take stock, and clear the space for moving toward whatever you most need.
For me, that's a few weeks of gulping fiction.
What does it look like for you?
Ooooh. I'm excited.
Second half of 2016, here we come!!
What are you celebrating after the first half of 2016? And what do you most need to do next?
Anyone else want to do a bunch of reading in July? I'd love to know! Tell me all about your plans in the comments.
On Thursday I'll let you know how I'm doing. And next Monday, I'll report that I've (hopefully!) crossed the first title off my list.
Not planning on being legalistic—you know how we operate on grace around here! Just looking for a little good-natured accountability.
Til then, I've got some books to fall into!