This astounding article appeared in one of my news feeds: “100 Best Writer Blogs You Must Follow in 2023.” (Click on the link to see that I AM NOT MAKING THIS UP!)
Did you read the word “MUST”? Do you know how many 100 is? What else am I supposed to do next year? That would take up my entire life, with no time for writing, eating, sleeping, or even playing pickleball.
I didn’t even open the article. I already follow four writer blogs and three history feeds, and I can’t even keep up with those. As of December 29, 2022, I had 6,023 unopened emails in my inbox. After several hours of deleting, I’m down to fewer than 3,500.
But I’m not alone with my bloated inbox. Most of us leave 1/3 of our emails unread. So if you are reading this, I offer you my profound thanks for clicking on the Write2Ignite notice in your email inbox.
By now you’re wondering what my point is. I was too, until I remembered a piece of advice from one of my favorite authors.
Be Like Bob Goff in 2023 and Be a Better Writer
In addition, 2018 gave me the honor of interviewing NYT Bestselling author Bob Goff about how to have a happy marriage. Here’s a little teaser from the interview: “At the beginning of each year, Bob and Maria cancel magazine subscriptions, the newspaper and every service that’s cancelable. This practice challenges the Goffs to ‘get back to the simplest version’ of their marriage.”
That has stuck with me along with the fact that Bob set up a school for witch doctors in Uganda. Both of his efforts are equally profound. However, I can emulate him only on the first one and have done the following:
- unsubscribed from all my shopping sites and most of my email marketing subscriptions.
- cancelled two of four newspaper subscriptions
- deleted one of my book blog subscriptions
- canceled a half dozen inspirational blogs, which did not, in fact, inspire me
Now that I have freed up all the time by not reading unworthy internet material, I have a new plan that will help me be a better writer.
Be Like Mortimer Adler in 2023 and Be a Better Writer
In 1972 Mortimer Adler’s How to Read a Book was re-released after 32 years, and I read it in 1987 at the suggestion of a college professor. (Read it free here.) Since that time, Morti’s ideas have haunted me. (By “haunted” I mean I feel guilty every time I skim a book.) Even though reading a book the Morti way requires work, I now feel the call to be even more important. I turned 60 in 2022 and realize I have only so many neurons left, and if I’m going to invest in my intellect, I need to do it now. I’m not going to waste those brave, lingering synapses by binge watching Disney+ Marvel mini-series.*
Morti’s plan helps you remember and synthesize the material you’ve read. It increases your comprehension and goes well beyond reading for information.
Be Like Johann Hari in 2023 and Be a Better Writer
In addition to rediscovering How to Read a Book, last year I read Stolen Focus by Johann Hari and felt the challenge anew to read deeply and with great attention in order to be able to recall and use what I have read. Hari explains that flitting through social media and internet content has decimated our attention spans. I intend to reclaim my brain in 2023.
And wait, there’s more: I have already started reading a high-brow book published by InterVarsity Press book called Saving the Bible from Ourselves by Glenn Paauw. (It’s under the hermeneutics/ exegesis category!) It has been on my self for three years. Before this commitment, I would look at it and think, I’m too tired. Now I realize I was just lazy. I can get through five to ten pages a night, Mortimer Adler style. This book will help me with a trilogy I’m writing on the history of the Bible, and as the subtitle promises, make me a better Christian, because, as we know, subtitles never lie.
Be the Best De-Bloated You in 2023 and Be a Better Writer
With all your extra time from decluttering your inbox and with your increased intellect from reading more the Mortimer Adler style, you’ll be on the cusp of literary greatness, which means you’ll be a better writer. Tell me about your writing goals for next year . . . We can hold each other accountable. I really need to get crackin’ on writing more books.
* The Marvel series WandaVision had a line that redeemed that 9-hour series. In between witch battles, sitcom redos, and flashbacks to horrific wars, this profound line slipped in: "What is grief, if not love persevering?"
Marianne Hering was a founding editor of Focus on the Family Clubhouse magazine. Since then she’s been writing for children and editing Christian books for adults. Find out more about the Imagination Station book series that has sold more than 1 million copies at MarianneHering.com. To schedule a free 30-minute children’s book coaching call, email HeLovesMeBooks@gmail.com. Follow her on Facebook. P.S. The book about the fiery furnace didn’t get accepted. I guess I need to be a better writer to find a publisher.