Help Me! Hide My Kindle and My Novels
My to-do list mocks me. I can’t put a good book down.
Where Did Those Six Hours I Had Planned to Write Go?
I meant well. I hadn’t read a novel in a month. I’d been on my feet cooking for a couple of hours, preparing the victuals for the week ahead. I was tired. It was quiet in the family room since my husband was on an errand. The light in my office was too bright with the retiring sun’s last flare shining through my window. I thought I’d just pick up my Kindle and read for a bit in the family room until Hubby came home and turned on the TV.
First I had to pick a book. I hadn’t opened my Kindle for a while. At the top of my library list was Stealthy Steps by Vikki Kestall. Although I don’t normally read fantasy or science fiction, I decided to give the book a chance after reading this opening paragraph.
Gemma Keyes was an ordinary, unexceptional young woman with a lackluster life until an overheard conversation ended her budding career and her loyalty to an old friend put her life in jeopardy. As the truth emerged, Gemma discovered — the hard way — that invisibility comes with its own set of problems. (Vikki Kestall, Stealthy Steps
I planned to read only until the sun had set and would not distract me from my writing. I was editing photos for a blog post due Wednesday, and still had some related Zazzle products to make. I thought I’d have plenty of time to make a dent in that remaining work between sundown and my normal 2 a.m. bedtime.
At 2 a.m. I was still reading. I knew I would not be able to quit until I finished the book. How could I stop as Gemma was fleeing from her mortal enemy? I had to see her through to the end of the book.
Reading Fiction Destroys my Productivity
Like an addict getting a fix, I can’t stop reading a good novel until I finish it. Even if I have finished a book in time to still get something productive done, it’s very hard to return to the real world and concentrate. It’s almost twelve hours since I finished the book. I slept until 11 a.m. after reading until 3:30 a.m.
Unlike many series books, this one is not complete in itself. My heroine is still not in a safe place — only a safe place for now. At the very end is proof that what I suspected about another main character was true and that the story itself still had a long way to go — at least three more novels.
It’s decision time again. I’m still halfway in that fantasy world. All I have to do is click a button to get the next fix. But I still have a blog post due in three days. I still have pictures to edit and a Bible study group to lead two nights from now. I have real-world chores that are urgent in the next two days. I can work on those chores during my evening sundown break. I don’t have to read.
- I can join Gemma in her world for the next three days, neglect my real world commitments, and probably deprive myself of more sleep or
- I can leave Gemma’s world and let my mind forget her and all the others I’ve met in her world and do what I need to do here in the real world
If I leave Gemma now, it will be much harder to blog about this series, and I’m a book blogger. There is a possibility I will never blog about the book because in a couple of days all I read will become a big blur. I will only have my feelings and some vague scenes left intact in my memory. Probably no one but me will care if that blog post never gets written.
If I click to buy the next book and go back to Gemma’s world in a few minutes, it will affect many others besides me. There is urgent bookkeeping to do and bills to pay online. My sleep will suffer. The post due for the group blog I contribute to will not be up to the quality I try to provide. My preparation for leading the Bible study group will be neglected.
At this moment I can still choose. I can and will stop straddling both worlds and put both feet firmly in this one until I have more time I can spare. I will not start the next book because once I start it, I know I won’t stop before I finish the book or the series.
Why Did I Start a Book Knowing What My Next Week Looks Like?
I was tired of reading Medium posts. It’s been a steady diet of Medium for almost a month now. Some posts have been almost predictable because the authors are running out of new things to share and repeat themselves a lot. Even though many other posts are inspiring or informative, they are still too much like snacks when I crave solid food.
My mistake is that like most addicts I thought I could control myself. I thought I could stop reading after a couple of hours and do what I had planned.
One reason I leave alcohol alone is that I suspect I have an addictive personality. Alcoholism runs in my family. I know alcohol or drugs could destroy me. Reading is a good thing if what I read has substance and appeals to my best self. It only is bad when my reading addiction drives it and I can’t be moderate about my reading time. It becomes bad when I let it lure me from my responsibilities and take over my life as it did yesterday.
Goodbye for Now, Gemma
Gemma is a worthy character and her story deals with timeless values. I want to follow her story to the end. I will go back to her world when I have time I can guiltlessly spend with her or if I’m not well enough to do anything but read. Gemma can work through her problems without me, and I need to work out mine without distractions from her world. So I’m leaving, but I’ll go back later if her world still beckons.