Reading and writing has become a way of coping for me in 2020. I enrolled myself in an online creative writing class, I joined readathons, and I even formed a book club with a few friends.
Now that I think about it, compared to the past few years, I think I’ve read the most number of books this year.
I arbitrarily put 30 books as my reading goal at the start of the year. It was a pretty lofty goal, considering my track record. I didn’t even decide on my TBR list. It was only about June or July, after I took a break from my creative writing lessons, that I decided to take my reading seriously. I thought that if I were to postpone my writing lessons, I should at the very least, read. And, I did. Not to mention that I also started a reading club with a very few friends, which also kept me motivated to read more.
Around August, I joined the Walang Tulugan Readathon with the rest of the Filipino book community over on Instagram and Twitter. It was such a fun experience. This happened at the same time with Wikathon, a month-long readathon devoted for Filipino authors, in celebration of Buwan ng Wika (National Language Month). I got to interact with other Filipino book lovers and readers, which was honestly pretty exciting. I also discovered some amazing Filipino booktubers!
When I took a break from my CW class, I continued to work on my writing still, albeit slowly. I have a number of drafts still sitting on my note app, which I plan to sort out before 2021 comes. That way I know which ones to focus on for next year.
Around the 3rd quarter of the year, I began to do morning pages–a practice Julia Cameron mentioned in her book, The Artist’s Way. These are 3 pages of longhand, stream of consciousness writing that she considers as a tool that artists or writers, should use, as a way of creative recovery. I documented my practice with some time-lapse videos of my writing sessions and shared them on Twitter. I was doing well with the practice until I stopped for a really idiotic reason. I ran out of ruled notebooks. For a time I was using my Hobonichi Day-Free which has the grid format, but it became too cumbersome. The small spaces were too much and it just didn’t work as well as writing on a ruled notebook. So right now I’ve yet to get back into it. I know, it’s really stupid. But, it is what it is.
Currently, I’m reading Dog Songs, a poetry collection by Mary Oliver. This is the 2nd poetry collection that I’m reading from her, Felicity, being the first. I’m quite new to reading poetry. I usually read fiction. I could drown myself in fantasy books for hours. This year, I managed to finish this fantastic trilogy, The Poppy War Series by RF Kuang. It was amazing, I loved it. I’d probably want to read it again next year.
Mary Oliver has become an instant favorite for me this year. I bought several of her poetry collections last month, hoping to get into them next year, as I continue to work on my own writing.
I’m hoping next year that I’ll be able to spend more time reading and writing, to get back with my creative writing lessons, and be able to get more of my own work out.
I also want to get to know other writers and authors through their works, and if available, their journal collections or biographies.
There are so many other books that I want to read, but I still do want to finish up the books that I currently have. Even though I bought quite a number of books this year, I’m glad that at least I was able to read most of them.
There might be a lot more uncertainties that the year 2021 will bring, but no matter how it goes, I’m always grateful that in some way, somehow, I can find refuge and solace in the written word.