Too Much of a Good Thing

I am a voracious reader.  I always have been.  One of my clearest memories as a child (in first grade, I think) is lying in bed reading The Boxcar Children, and yelling to my mom asking her to tell me what the words meant when I didn’t understand them. Later in high school, I remember sobbing because I loved a book so much and I had to return it to the library.  We talked the library into selling it to us so I could keep it.  I still have it.

I am a proud book nerd.  I probably love reading more than I love television, movies, video games, theme parks, or shopping. Except shopping for books.  If a book engages me, I am totally immersed while I’m reading it.  All freaking in.  Life outside the book ceases to exist for me.

I especially love reading various types of romance novels.  Contemporary, romantic suspense, paranormal, sci-fi romance, doesn’t matter.  If I find an author and a series that I love, if the book has a story and a romance and characters that suck me in, I’m there.

If I care about the main characters, I MUST see what happens.  I have to know how the MCs get together, what happens to shatter their world and how they go about rebuilding it.  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve cried when the boy hurts the girl, or the girl hurts the boy (or whatever combination of boys and girls there happens to be in the book).  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve finished a book and then started it all over again simply because I wanted to experience the joy of the ending one more time.

Sounds good, doesn’t it?  Considering I’m a romance writer and all.  Good thing I’m in love with the genre, eh?

And it IS good.  Mostly.

See, I’m also a completionist.  Some might even say I’m a wee bit…obsessive.  When I find an author who has a series I love, I start at the beginning and read through until I’ve finished all the books.  Nothing else matters.  Just the next book.  Just escaping into that world again and again and finding out what happens to those characters I’ve learned to love because those people are real to me.  Standalone novels aren’t AS bad, but a series?  A series where characters show up book to book and you really get invested?  Yikes.

Reading that way is why I only got three hours of sleep last night (because I HAD to keep reading).  Reading that way is why I can’t announce that my own new book is up for sale this week in this blog post, as I’d planned (because it’s not done yet).  Reading that way is why my sink is full of dirty dishes, cat hair fluffs are all over the house, and the garden still needs weeding (because reading takes time).

Yup, things went to hell in a handbasket this last week. I wasn’t working.  I wasn’t concentrating on my life in the real world.  I was reading obsessively.

Then there’s the financial part—it’s soooooooo easy to overspend for ebooks thanks to one-click purchasing.  At least I read ebooks almost exclusively now and they tend to be cheaper than paper books.  But even if you’re careful about the price of the books you’re buying, it doesn’t help much if you buy 20 ebooks at a time.

And you don’t get much accomplished in your real life if you read all 20 books in a matter of days.  Like I did.

(Just as an aside—I don’t have Kindle Unlimited or one of the other subscription services.  I want the books I want when I want them and most of the ones I want aren’t part of them anyway.  I also like owning them so I can read them whenever I want to.  But for a reader like me, I certainly understand the appeal of a monthly subscription service.)

Reading is a drug for me.  And reading might be a healthier drug than lots of other things I could be doing, but I simply can’t keep losing days and days and weeks of productivity to it.  I can’t have eyes that feel like sandy mush in my head because they’re so strained.  I can’t eat wrong because I’m so tired from not sleeping (because I was reading) that my body is screaming for the energy of carbs.

I can’t.

Don’t get me wrong – I WANT to.  But I can’t.

So now what?

It’s hard to have a compulsive personality on a good day, but something like this is when it’s the worst.  Reading IS essential to me not only as a person but also as a businessperson.  I ain’t giving it up.  Reading is my soul and, also, if I’m writing romances, I need to read them.  But, obviously, I need to establish some boundaries.  That means I’ll have to set up a schedule.

Which sucks.

Time limits are going to be a necessity most days.  So are alarms and being aware of how long I read at night.  Not getting so involved I forget the time.  At least my Fitbit can do timers.  I’ll also have to change my thinking so reading is a reward after work is finished instead of a treat before I start.


And there, my friends, is the story of why I can’t announce my new book this week. Let this be a lesson to you. It really is possible to have too much of a good thing.




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