Member preview

A Book a Week for Better Dreams and Better Writing

The first of 52 books for the year. Picture by Bryan Payne.

I don’t dream at night anymore, or at least I can’t remember my dreams. I don’t know why. I try to remember them. I have a pen and paper ready to jot down anything that touched me in the night. I just haven’t been able to remember them for a very long time. I don’t know what to do, I really want my dreams back.

I suspect that I can’t remember my dreams because life gets in the way. I wake up and immediately remember that I have a job I hate. I have bills that must be paid. I have a beautiful son and wife that need food and clothes and whatever else sons and wives need. I wake up with life on my mind.

There was a time that I would wake up and remember flying through the air or swimming in the ocean or flying through the ocean. I had dreams where I was a rock star, an actor or an evil genius trying to rule the world. I also had dreams of falling and almost hitting the ground. Any of those dreams would be nice to have and revisit throughout the day.

Dreams, I believe, help imagination. Or is it imagination helps you dream? I would say both are true. I know that imagination is key when it comes to writing.

I love to write. I write every day trying to get better. I read about how to be a better writer from authors that are amazing. They all say the same thing. To be better at writing you have to do two things, write a lot and read a lot.

I love books and I love reading them, but my reading has declined. Life is hectic and sometimes there is just not enough time in the day to sit and relax and enjoy a good book. This might be why my dreams have disappeared.

Wanting to get my dreams back I decided to do something. I decided to read a book a week in 2018. This is not a resolution, this is a goal. Resolutions all die within a month. But goals, if you write them down, move you. Goals last all year, while resolutions only happen at the end of the year.

I received a copy of the newest Dan Brown book in October for my birthday. It sat on my shelf until Christmas. I decided to read the book during the Christmas downtime. I wanted to see how long it would take me to finish the book if I focused on making the time to read it. I took me about a week.

A week to read 500 or so pages, this is doable. I can read a novel in a week, that’s 52 novels in a year. Why not, I thought. I decided to read 52 books this year to help inspire my imagination and get my dreams back.

I have some rules for my 52-week book journey.

1. Three out of four books must be fiction.

I love non-fiction books, but I don’t think they will inspire the imagination as much as fiction books. I don’t want to give up my non-fiction so I have made an exception. I do not have to make every fourth book non-fiction. If I start getting into a non-fiction roll I need to make sure I don’t break my every fourth book rule.

2. If the book is more than 600 pages, take two weeks.

I estimate that I can read around 500 pages a week. I believe that I can push it to 600, but any more than that and I will need extra time. George R.R. Martin has great books that are a million pages long. I might want to read the original Game of Thrones books. Another author I like, Stephen King, is known for going long too. I might want grab one or two of his books also.

3. No audiobooks.

I love audiobooks. I am blessed that I can listen to audiobooks at work while I drive. I believe there is a difference between listening to books and actually reading books when it comes to sparking the imagination. So I have decided not to count any audio books for this project.

4. No rereads.

I am trying to expand my reading so I think it is imperative to only read books that I have not read before.

5. I must try new genres.

I have a book genre that I like and am drawn to. Brad Thor, David Baldacci, and Brad Metzler are some of the authors of the Mystery, Thriller and Suspense genre that I like. I have made it a point to try new genres during this year of reading. I might even try to read The Fellowship of the Ring since I have not read it. Yes I know I am a horrible person.

To pull this off I will need to watch less TV which will set a better example for my 3-year-old son. There is not much on TV anymore, and it kills your imagination. Everything is there for you when you watch TV, so how can it foster any imagination.

I started January 1st with Neil Gaiman’s American God’s. I am enjoying the book and it is definitely out of my preferred genre.

I am excited about the book a week challenge. I am excited about what it will do for my writing, for my imagination, and for my dreams. I hope it gives me my dreams back.

Helping each other write better.