Thanks to those who've responded about how/why you bought books in the last part of last year. I still don't have enough data to show any kind of pattern, so please do let me know if you fit into that group (see previous post). It does look like gift purchases played a big role. And it looks like there were people who'd previously borrowed books who bought them. On that front, was the price of the books an issue, and would you have bought sooner if lower-priced mass-market editions had been available? (Another thing I'm still pushing for.)
Working my way through that writing book ended up being very valuable (I think -- haven't started the actual writing based on it yet). I really was doing a lot of good things instinctively, but thinking through them consciously and doing more things deliberately should really help. Now I just need to sit down and do it. Unfortunately, I'm rather groggy and headachy today with a bit of a book hangover. I went on a reading binge this weekend and read three books, finishing the last one at about two this morning. I think, though, that it was more of a case of insomnia than it was of a book keeping me up all night. I usually do read myself to sleep, putting the book down and turning off the light when my eyes start getting heavy and I find myself pausing to rest when I turn pages. But last night, I kept waiting for the eyelid heaviness to hit, and it never did, so I kept reading until I finished the book, and even then it took me nearly an hour to fall asleep after I turned off the light.
I guess that's one of those signs that you're getting old or that your life is tame when the only "hangovers" you get are from staying up too late with a book. I've become rather conscious of some of these signs of aging, since I'm approaching one of those big, scary round number birthdays, but to be honest, I think a lot of these have been true for me all along.
You know you're getting old or that your life is tame when you're reading a book about someone's hip single life that's also full of heartbreak, and you find yourself sounding like a mother in wanting to tell the character exactly what she's doing wrong to keep getting herself in those situations -- and that's exactly the lesson the character learns at the end of the book. "You know, if you'd listened to me three hundred pages ago, you'd have saved yourself a lot of heartbreak."
You know you're getting old (or maybe "maturing" is a better word) when you find yourself giving reality checks to your own daydreams. I did finally acknowledge during the last winter Olympics that I would never win an Olympic gold medal in figure skating (since, you know, I'm nearing forty and have skated, like, five times in my whole life), and even if I could go back in time and actually live within a hundred miles of an ice rink during the period when most champions start learning to skate, I don't think I'd change what I've done with my life in order to fit in all the training that would be necessary because there are too many other things I wouldn't want to give up. But here lately, in those idle daydreams that pop up when I'm doing something boring like washing dishes, or when I'm lying in bed before I go to sleep, I've found myself realizing that I probably don't really want a lot of those things. If I did meet one of my celebrity crushes and he did fall in love with me, we probably wouldn't be compatible and would have clashing values, and I'm not sure I'd want to uproot my life to go live with him in Hollywood or New York or wherever, and an extreme introvert like me wouldn't really enjoy that lifestyle. While I occasionally harbor daydreams of becoming a Broadway star, I then realize that it would take too much time away from writing, and it would mean going back to a job that required me to leave the house on a daily basis. Even a more realistic (for me) daydream about being a staff writer on one of my favorite TV shows would, again, mean going back to a regular job, in addition to living in the LA area. Besides, being on the writing staff would mean I couldn't enjoy the show as a fan anymore and be surprised by what happens on the series.
I guess it's a sign of maturity to realize that you're content with your life as it is, that it's the life you're most suited to, and that maybe it's a good thing none of those wild daydreams ever came to pass. It's also a sign of maturity to have the self-discipline to actually work even when you aren't on a deadline, so off to work I go ...