Sunday, February 28, 2010

To-Read List 2010 Updated

I'm looking forward to summer time. I might actually be able to read a book in less than a month's time. Which would be good, considering this list is going to keep getting longer if I don't manage to get anything read.

School, thou art the bane of of free-time.

The List (in no particular order)

Mistborn - Brandon Sanderson
The Well of Ascension - Brandon Sanderson
Hero of Ages - Brandon Sanderson
Well of Eternity - Richard A. Knaak
Shakespeare's Landlord - Charlaine Harris
Shakespeare's Champion - Charlaine Harris
Dragonfly in Amber - Diana Gabaldon
Magic Blood - Devon Monk
Dragon Bones - Patricia Briggs
Dragon Blood - Patricia Briggs
Small Gods - Terry Pratchett
Vampire Academy - Richelle Mead
City of Bones - Cassandra Clare
City of Ashses - Cassandra Clare (borrowed)
The Historian - Elizabeth Kostova
Enders Game - Orson Scott Card (borrowed from brother, don't actually own)
American Gods - Neil Gaiman
Feast of Souls - C.S. Friedman
Kushiel's Scion - Jacqueline Carey
Kushiel's Justice - Jacqueline Carey (Don't actually own this one. Don't know how that happened.)
Kushiel's Mercy - Jacqueline Carey
Gardens of the Moon - Steven Erikson
Glass Houses - Rachel Caine
A Game of Thrones - George R. R. Martin
Firestorm - Rachel Caine
Thin Air - Rachel Caine
The Gunslinger - Stephen King
Prince of Dogs - Kate Elliott
The Burning Stone - Kate Elliott
Banewrecker - Jacqueline Carey
The Last Wish - Andrzej Sapkowski
Genesis of Shannara - Terry Brooks
Children of Chaos - Dave Duncan
In the Realm of the Wolf - David Gemmell
Hero in the Shadows - David Gemmel
The Becoming - Jeanne C. Stein
The Scent of Shadows - Vicki Pettersson
Dragonfly - Frederic S. Durbin
Love Bites - Lynsay Sands
Personal Demon - Kelley Armstrong
No Humans Involved - Kelley Armstrong
Broken - Kelley Armstrong
Inda - Sherwood Smith
His Majesty's Dragon - Naomi Novik
Night World Vol. 3 - L.J. Smith
Bone Crossed - Patricia Briggs

Friday, February 5, 2010

Staying in the Habit

Writing is like any other art form. It takes constant practice. For me, at least. It's not something I can do once or twice every other week or so. It's constant. The more I write, the more constant my writing sessions, the better I get. Take a week off, for whatever reason, and it's really hard to get back into the swing of things.

In French class yesterday, our teacher was talking about the Chinese calligraphy class she'd been taking. We have a foreign exchange student from Taiwan in that class, and the teacher said, "This is an art, isn't it?"

The girl said yes, it is. Her sister is a master calligrapher, to the point where she can sell her work. The teacher then said, "You play the piano. How many hours do you spend practicing?"

"Six hours every day," she said.

"It takes 60,000 hours of practice to become a master," the teacher said.

60,000 hours. That's a lot of time, when you think about it. Especially for students who have to jam in homework, a social life, other hobbies and interests, and their practice into a single day. Some students even have jobs.

My point is that it takes a long time, a lot of hard work, to become good at something. My classmate didn't say "usually six hours, but sometimes I only practice for three." It was "Six hours everyday." Everyday. I certainly can't do anything non-stop for six hours. Except reading a really good book. Maybe. Still, it's good to have a set time to write. Or at least make sure you're writing something everyday. I failed at that this week. I got hung up on the end of a scene because it could have gone several different ways. The way I wanted to take it wasn't necessarily the best way to go for the book. So I've spent the week agonizing over it.

I should have been writing. Write the different endings, the different ways it could go, then go from there, but I didn't. Now, I've spent two days trying to get back into writing, and I've barely put together 500 words.

My goal for the next week is to get back into the writing habit. No more slacking. I need to write at least 500 words. For the book. Essays and literature journals don't count!