What do you Read While you Write?

I read an interesting article earlier today written by two authors that got me thinking a little bit.

Now obviously I’m not talking about actually writing and reading at the same time. What I mean is during the days or months that you’re working on a writing project, what do you read? And my answer to this particular question is a little perplexing. I don’t. I don’t read while I’m writing. Which is completely bizarre, but I think it’s true. 2013 and 2014, the only years for which I could possibly try to answer this question, were my two worst reading years in recent memory. And those were the two years in which I was writing.

But I think I’m the odd man out here. Because I know several bloggers who manage to read 50-75 books each year while writing more than I ever have. But I also bet there are a few people in similar situations to mine. But I’ll only know if you tell me!

So, what do you read while you write?

2014: What do I think of you?

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Photo Credit

Here it is, my 2014 recap! Cause I know you’ve been dying for me to write this. Let me preface the rest of this post by saying that this will not be all about blogging or books or writing…it’s going to be about all things me, and some not. Might as well get started before you die of boredom.

I’ve seen other bloggers write their recaps in chronological order, but no. I’m not doing that. I’m going to hit on whatever topics I want. First up…Blogging.

Blogging

Talk about a fantastic year. Did you see my WordPress annual report that gave you a little insight into my blog? If not, you can do so here. What’s happened on this blog is as unlikely as it gets. I blogged for six months last year and had a grand total of 1200 views. Let’s be real, that’s nothing. I was literally writing for myself cause no one else was reading. I only blogged about writing my first book. So I’d write a chapter and then write a blog post. I’d go a week without writing and I’d go a week without blogging. I didn’t read other blogs and I definitely never commented on any. I guess I thought WordPress would magically make my blog popular. Didn’t happen.

I turned the year with something like 80 WordPress followers. My app currently has the number at 2184. That’s pretty significant. And I’d have to say it’s all because of a change in format. No longer do I write about my writing, (especially since I haven’t written in months) but about anything that comes to mind. Sure books are the heavy focus, but now I include poems and my thoughts on particular subjects like Pearl Harbor and D-Day. I just realized that I posted 12 poems on here this year! Which means I’ve written 17 poems in my life. I think my Halloween poem was by far the worst. I mean, I shouldn’t have posted it because it was terrible. But I wrote it at like three in the morning and went to sleep. I don’t know if I can pick a favorite. I really like the autumn one. And also the reading one. But the materialistic one too? Ugh. I can’t pick a favorite. You try.

And what my annual report didn’t tell y’all was that there were more than 10,000 comments on my blog this year! Read that again…10,000! That’s why I like blogging so much. I get to discuss all these things I have going on in my head with people who know so much more than I do.

AND I’ve gotten the chance to get to know some great people over the course of this year because of this blog. Maybe one of them (or me) will one day write a huge bestselling book and go on a book tour so I can attend an event and be like, “Hey! I’m that guy who goes on rants about books on WordPress! It’s nice to meet you!” I heard there’s a WordPress expo? Maybe? Someone find out.

I have some lofty goals for 2015 for Write me a Book, John! First, I want to hit 40,000 site views for the year. Second, I want to reach 5,000 WordPress followers. And third, I’d like to post 25 new poems on here in 2015. Think y’all can help make those happen?

2014 final blog stats:

282 posts

30,102 views

12,195 visitors

5,302 Likes

10,159 comments.

Reading

Hmm. This was a terrible year for me, which you already know if you read this post. I managed to finish a grand total of seven books this year. I’m basically a reader who spends more time talking about reading than actually reading. I read a couple good books and a couple that were okay, but that doesn’t matter. I need to read more. Period. This is serious stuff.

Work

This is a topic that I’ve really only shared with a handful of y’all. So, now I might as well share with all of you who decide to read this. Most of you don’t know that I work in retail. I actually started when I was 17 and I’ve been at the same job ever since. I make more and I have a different title, but the job is largely the same. I started the summer before my senior year in high school and worked all the way through college. And now 19 months after graduating from UHD, I’m still there. I have no issue with the job. But now I’m looking for something more. In each of the last three months I’ve had three major interviews for CJ related jobs (my degree is in criminal justice). Unfortunately, I didn’t get the first two. BUT the most recent one was just over a week ago and I’m moving forward in the process. There are five steps total. And this is the first of the three that I’m confident about. I’ll have to let y’all know what happens. I have about three weeks before the next step.

Sports

I’m from Houston. I’m a die hard Texans fan. You probably already know that their season is over. They finished 9-7 and missed the playoffs by a single game. But I’m not going to complain too much about a team that improved by 7 wins over last season with largely the same personnel. Nope. And the Rockets (NBA) are looking more and more like legitimate title contenders with each passing day. James Harden is leading the way with an MVP-caliber start to the season. Wouldn’t it be something to have the NFL Defensive Player of the Year (DPOY) in JJ Watt AND the NBA MVP in James Harden? JJ Watt will most likely be the unanimous winner of the DPOY and his case for MVP is out of this world. Let’s see what happens. All things considered, I’m excited about the future of the three major sports teams here in Houston. Jose Altuve just won the batting title for the Astros. Just an FYI.

Writing

Ugh. My goals at the beginning of the year were to write two books. I wrote maybe a third of one. Which is fine, I’ve known for months that I didn’t want to revisit the story until the new year. Well, time to put up or shut up. I have about 30k words written and I know exactly where I left off. I may even have a little surprise for y’all about this at a later date. We’ll see.

But my writing goal this year is to finish the first draft of the story I have now. No other timetable. I just want to finish it. I think I can. Even if I start working a new job, I think I’ll be able to finish it.

The Hunger Games

Yep. Gets a whole bullet to itself. Hm. I bet if I did a search of my blog for Katniss of THG or anything at all related to those three books that I would come up with a couple dozen posts. I mean, I’m obsessed. Sure I didn’t reread the books like I said I would, but now all I do is sing The Hanging Tree. Not even kidding. Matter of fact, here. Watch. Yes I know that Jennifer Lawrence isn’t going to win any Grammys any time soon, but really? Did you expect her to sound so…perfect? Seriously. You can’t listen to that and not be impressed. And the movie itself wasn’t bad. It wasn’t as memorable as either of the first two, but no one expected the first half of the worst book to be the best movie. At least no one who knows anything about the movies and the books. I’m looking forward to the conclusion of the series. Pretty sure I’ll be that crying uncontrollably emoji once it’s over. Not even kidding. Y’all have no idea. I want the mockingjay pin tattoo.

YouTube

This is one that I would never have imagined happening. I’m big on TV. Y’all know this. Before 2014 I had subscribed to a grand total of zero YouTube channels. And I could have named one YouTuber. But then in July I discovered Superwoman. I still sing her song #Leh just about every day. And I watch all of the videos she releases. But that’s not all. I’m now subscribed to maybe a dozen channels that range from top ten lists to pranks. I discover new channels almost every week and have discovered that I’m genuinely entertained by people who just put themselves in front of a camera and record. Here’s Superwoman’s 2014 recap. I’d be lying if I didn’t say that this really made me happy to see. I know I don’t know her personally and I’ve yet to meet her, but there are very few celebrities who I believe are as genuine as she is.

People

Oooh getting personal. I’m no different from any other person. I have people in my life who matter more than or less than the next person. 2014 was no different. I’ve had a number of people just kind of drop out of my life this year, and one that I never would have expected. But hey, that’s life. I still have a number of people who I personally admire and respect. I’ve written about a few of them on here this year.

Overall 2014 will be remembered for the people I now know from blogging and for me beginning my career search.

So I think that’s it. No real major events. No random kids. No random marriage. Not really anything that would mean something to someone else, but that’s okay. It was my year.

2014: My year in blogging

Hey guys, last year I hadn’t blogged long enough to get one of these reports at the end of the year. Honestly, I’m pretty ecstatic about where my blog is and where I think it’s going. And it’s all because of my readers. Because of you. Y’all have no idea how much I enjoy this. All I can say is thank you. It’s been a memorable 2014 and I promise to keep the posts coming next year. Now check out the full report to see what you helped accomplish! Seriously, it’s all you. I just happen to have my name in the title.


The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 30,000 times in 2014. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 11 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

My 2014 Reading Biography

AKA the books I read this year.

Honestly, I’m not sure that “reading biography” is a thing that people say, but I saw it on another post and I’m stealing it. How about we make it catch on and then eventually everyone who reads this blog will be able to say they had a hand in a new tag/meme on WordPress. I can see it now.

“Hey guys, this is my reading biography. As started over at Write me a Book, John!”

Maybe? Anyway, this is going to be a much shorter post than I’d have hoped at the start of the year. I’m pretty sure you know by now that my goal each year is to read 50 books. I think it’s a nice round number that’s definitely attainable, considering I read 44 a couple years ago in just seven months. Guess how close I got? Just guess. I’ll wait.

Hurry up.

Okay. Time’s up. I read…seven books! SO close to my goal! Not. It was a terrible reading year. I mean, how can I even say I’m a reader with that kind of number? It’s really disappointing and there’s no explanation. I’m just a loser. Here’s the mediocre list anyway. And I’m even going to post the date I finished each one so you really get an idea how bad it really was.

1. Valediction (Spenser #11) – Robert B. Parker – January 1

2. The Diary of a Young Girl – Anne Frank – March 7

3. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (Harry Potter #1) – JK Rowling – March 13

4. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory – Roald Dahl – March 26

5. London Bridges (Alex Cross #10) – James Patterson – April 12

6. The Fault in our Stars – John Green – June 12

7. The Drop (Harry Bosch #15) – Michael Connelly – June 21

Pages Read: 2193

Reading Time: 36:07

Series Books: 4

Authors: 7

Amazon 100 Books: 4

That’s it. That’s all there is to know from what I read in 2014. This means I’ve read a whopping 22 books since January 1, 2013! What am I doing!? No. 2015 will be better. I know it.

How was your 2014 reading year? It couldn’t have been any worse than mine.

Get Anything Bookish This Christmas?

I have to be honest. I’m not big on Christmas. I would be perfectly fine if we didn’t celebrate it at all. Which is why each and every year I tell my family that I don’t want anything, and mean it. But of course they still try to find something to get me. Which is fine, I guess. I’d prefer they spend their money on more useful things. Anyway, this year I did just as I have in previous years. I said I didn’t want anything. Which left them to just get whatever. It was basic stuff. Pretty much all clothes. AND SOCKS! But for the second year in a row one of my brothers got me something bookish. They’re bookends! But they look almost exactly like one of our former pets. Here. Look.

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Uh can you say awesome? I’m even going to dust off my bookshelves before I use them. Last year he got me some fancy bookmarks. Or was it two years ago? One of the two. Anyway, these little guys were my only bookish gifts this year and I think they’re great.

What about you? Did you get anything bookish this Christmas? Like books, maybe? Tell me.

Are any of you on SnapChat? You see from the picture that I am. Add me “jguillen12” I’ll send you the most random snaps you can imagine. Unless you’re boring, then I won’t. Ha.

The Top Ten Books of 2014…on Twitter

BookVibe has compiled a list of books most mentioned on Twitter in 2014. Might as well just get into the list because I’m sure you’re more interested in the ten books than any preceding comments I have.

10. Catcher in the Rye – JD Salinger

I suppose it would be unwise to think that a list like this wouldn’t include some classics, right? I mean, don’t high school kids have to read this? Maybe?

9. 1984 – George Orwell

I don’t know if high schoolers are reading this, but I’m not particularly surprised by it.

8. Jurassic Park – Michael Crichton

Hey. This is a definite surprise to me. It’s obvious that this made the list because of the new movie coming out next summer, but it is still nice to see people talking about it (even though we’re coming up on movie four and there are only two books.) But I read this in high school and then read the second one. Enjoyed both.

7. Eleanor and Park – Rainbow Rowell

Haven’t read this one, but I know it’s popular. My only question is if her real name is really Rainbow. And I actually know the titles of all of her books even though I haven’t read any of them. That’s cool.

6. Gone Girl – Gillian Flynn

When a book is adapted into a major movie that immediately gets some awards buzz going, well it’s hard to imagine a world in which Twitter isn’t right on board with that. Still haven’t read this, though I’m about 90 percent sure I know what happens. Eh.

5. Hannibal – Thomans Harris

Okay.

4. To Kill a Mockingbird – Harper Lee

Obviously an American classic, but wasn’t this book just released as an e-book for the first time this year? Maybe that helped?

3. Looking for Alaska – John Green

I would have to go back and take a look at my banned books post, but I think this made the list. Cause I know it was published a few years ago and I figured that two of his other books would make this list over this one. Hm. What do I know?

2. A Game of Thrones – George R. R. Martin

There is absolutely nothing for me to say about this. Who wouldn’t expect this?

1. The Fault in Our Stars – John Green

Well it sure looks like John Green is right at the top of the literary world at the moment. Heck, this is the only book on the list I read in 2014. And he has another movie coming out next June. And is there anyone out there who doesn’t think his other works will be adapted at some point? Doubt it. I still would just like to mention that I have the same initials as John Green. Cause that somehow matters. This book actually had more than double the mentions on Twitter as the second book on the list. Sheesh.

So that’s it! The top ten books of 2014 on Twitter. Any surprises?

2014: My Goals

Even though we’re well into the new year now, I’ve just very recently laid out what I wish to accomplish in 2014. Of course, the list revolves around my writing. What else, right? Let’s get to it.

1. Finish the book I’m currently working on

This seems fairly obvious, I’m sure, but all of my fellow authors out there know that no book is easy to write. Not even the bad ones. This comes first on the list because the longer I take to finish the less time I have for the other items on my list. I wish I could wake up and spend 24 hours straight at my computer writing chapter after chapter and get this thing written, but I can’t. Although I want to finish in a timely manner, I won’t rush myself. I just want the story written.

2. Begin the search for an agent to represent book two

I mentioned in an earlier post that I’ve decided not to self-publish my book under any circumstances for a number of reasons. If you’re interested take a look at the original post here. Again, we all dread the search for an agent because we’re putting our hours and months and maybe even years of work out there for someone else to judge. It can be a scary feeling, but it’s one I’m ready to take on. I wouldn’t be surprised if the search for an agent ends up taking longer than the time to write the book, but again the decision has been made and I look forward to it.

3. Write book three

There’s no doubt in my mind that once I finish working on my second book that I’ll almost immediately start in on the third. The idea has been in my head as long as the idea of writing has and it’s waiting for its time to shine. I came up with the basis for the book in early 2012 and have been eager to revisit the idea ever since.

Also, note that it took me four months from the start of the first chapter to print for my first book, so the goal of two books in a single year isn’t too farfetched based on the writing I’ve already produced.

4. Writing vs. full-time employment

This is where things get a little tricky. Goals are never 100%, right? Well if I am unable to ink any kind of publishing deal by year’s end, even if I have two books finished, I’ll at least entertain the prospect of finding a real job. Right now I only work part-time on the weekends and am supposed to be spending my weekdays at my computer writing, but I don’t write as often as I should. So, 2014 is certainly what might be considered a make or break year for my writing.

But remember that I am holding onto a degree in criminal justice that I’m not putting to much use. I mean, I have a great interest in the criminal justice system, but my first choice will always be writing over everything else. And also note that if I am forced to get a real job that I’ll still be writing and fighting for that publishing deal. I’ll just have less time devoted to the cause.

Wish me luck!