I remember many years ago going to a talk that Madeleine L'Engle gave at my college. At the end of her talk, she opened the floor to questions and a young woman got up and asked, "I would really love to do what you do. What recommendation do you have for an aspiring writer?"
L'Engle told her that until she published, she would need to have a job to pay the bills. "Don't take a job, like teacher, that will drain your creativity. Wash dishes at a restaurant, or similar manual labor. The work will be hard, but it won't drain your creativity. When you sit down at your typewriter, you may be tired but you should still have the creativity you need to write some."
Every year I swear to myself that I'm going to start working on this earlier--like in October--so that I'm not rushed at the end of the year to get it done. This year I actually did a fair bit of work in October, but then several projects at work just wiped me out. Unfortunately my job is one that requires a lot of brain focus and a fair bit of creativity. At the end of the day it was really hard to go home and come up with sets of four related topics. (It's amazing how hard it is to come up with four. Three? I can usually get three. But that fourth one just bogs me down.) And of course my most creative thoughts happen at 3am, when I'm not up to writing anything coherent down. By the next morning my "surely I will remember that" brilliance has fled with the moon.
But I enjoy doing these challenges (both creating them and then trying to actually complete them), so I stuck it out and finally it is done.
The 2023 Pick Your Poison Reading Challenge:
As in the past, I have created a printable pdf that is easier to print than the graphic above. Also, for fans of spreadsheets, this Google docs spreadsheet can be saved to your own device or Google docs.
Maybe next year I will try to start working on the 2024 list in May.
In the meantime, hit your shelves, head to the library, or start perusing your bookstores!