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Anyone who knows me also likely knows that I love almost nothing more than signing up for challenges. They thrill me, really.
Last year, I did a pescatarian Whole30 (and I quit early), a “writing every day” challenge for the month of July (and I quit that early too), and earlier this year signed up for the #52esssays2017 challenge. Although I haven’t officially quit the latter yet, I haven’t really been doing much for it lately either. In fact, it’s been out of sight, out of mind lately.
So when I told a friend recently that I was thinking of giving myself a new challenge, he said: “When is the blog post of ‘why I’m glad I quit early’ coming?” And he’s not wrong. It’s just what I do.
I think the reason that I love signing up for challenges so much is that it gives me something new to focus on. I love learning something new, trying something new, just really anything new.
And then I get bored.
I get bored really easily, and really fast. It’s a weird almost curse, really, because it’s a skill that has really helped me in my career as a journalist. That ability to move on from story to story and project to project quickly gets my creative juices flowing. It allows me to go from one thing to the other quite easily, and I am never for a lack of ideas.
In fact, that same friend has often wondered just how I can fit so many ideas in my head. Well, I can. It’s just one of those things that comes naturally to me. My brain doesn’t shut up with the new ideas, ever.
And that can be a really good thing as a journalist and writer. But that hasn’t really served me well as an aspiring author, because there just hasn’t been a book that I have been able to finish due to this inability to stay still. I’m still working on my memoir, Moscow Chica, but I am also constantly thinking about the next book or whether I should pause to work on my YA novel instead. It’s a pain!
But I keep going, I keep trying, and I keep signing up for new challenges.
Today’s new challenge is this: I am promising to read 101 audiobooks in the next 1001 days (roughly 33 months, or just over 2.7 years).
There’s actually a few reasons why I am signing myself up for this self-imposed challenge as someone who sucks at keeping up with her own challenges.
Basically, I absolutely LOVE books. As an aspiring author, I own probably somewhere close to 200 books on my Kindle and another 200 on my physical bookshelf. I have another 50 in my Amazon Wish List and, if I counted up all of the books that I’ve ever owned (many of which I donated after a while because I just didn’t have time to read them), the number would probably be at least four thousand. What can I say? I love books!
The problem with loving books, other than the money spent on them, is that I recently realized that I just don’t have time to read books. What’s more, I get bored reading books. It’s not that I don’t love the subject matter or I’m not intrigued by the story, but I’m an extrovert who already spends way too much time at home due to the nature of my job. So when it comes to laying on the couch on a Sunday to read for hours… Well, I just can’t do it.
Luckily, in my confession of being a writer who doesn’t read, I discovered something else, something that I have been resisting for years (ever since that same friend I mentioned earlier started this habit): I love audiobooks!
No, seriously… I absofuckinlutely LOVE audiobooks.
I honestly don’t know why I have resisted them for so long. I guess, in some strange way, as someone who enjoys putting words on paper, I felt that the only “right” way to read was to physically read those same words off of paper. But I just don’t have the patience or attention span for it so, after experimenting with audiobooks and podcasts in May, I have finally come to terms with my newfound love.
And the great thing? Audiobooks are awesome. They have allowed me to read no less than four books in the past month. With a nice little start to my Must Read List, I decided that tackling 101 books would be the next smart thing to do.
In fact, I have created a separate page on this site for the challenge. Check it out here: 101 (Audio) Books in 1001 Days.
On that page is all the basics. When I started (6/28/2017), when I hope to finish (March 2020) and how many books I have read so far (4, though I am close to finishing book #5 at the moment).
I am also going to include a thorough list of everything I have read on that page. Honestly, I just want to see how many books I have read and it’s a nice way to keep records of my thoughts about each book without doing an actual book review (because I am not good at critiques).
On that page, you’ll also find an extensive list of my upcoming books. They’re listed in no particular order but basically include books I already own on Audible, books that I own on my Kindle that I have instead found in my local library’s audio app (because, let’s face it, that Kindle reading is never happening), and some books that are on that Amazon Wish List.
I’m currently at 71 books on my list, but I am sure that I will be adding more through the next couple of years. There’s always something new to read, and I can’t even guarantee that the books currently on my Must Read List will necessarily stay there.
What I can guarantee, however, is that I am excited by this new challenge.
Sure, that might just be because it’s a new challenge and I love anything new. That’s certainly a factor. But I think the real thing I love about this challenge is that it’s a natural manifestation of what I already love: Reading.
I am definitely one of those people (and I know there are many of us) who feels that they don’t read enough. Well, you know what? Some of my favorite days these past few months have been days where I have devoted almost all of my Sunday to “reading” while I do my weekly chores (like buying groceries, cooking lunch for the week, and laundry) and trying some new hobbies.
Plus, there’s nothing quite as fun as starting my day by showering while “reading” and making my breakfast while “reading” every morning.
It’s been thrilling to try podcasts, which I hope to also still have time for, but actively engaging with books and reading has reawakened something in me this past month. And I hope to keep going.
After all, #irinadoesntread… But she does listen to audiobooks!