I feel like I never have enough time to read. So many great books and so little time. With that in mind, and being in between careers right now, I decided to go on a reading retreat.
Did I go anywhere?
I stayed in my cozy townhouse, slept in, ate good food, went for an occasional walk, and read like mad for days.
I’m giving myself two full weeks to transition from being a law school admissions consultant to full-time writer. It’s important to have down time between jobs and especially between careers. I’ve worked hard on my Prelaw Guru business this year and I am burnt out. Since I love to read and never feel like I have enough time for it, it made total sense to treat myself to a reading retreat.
It took some convincing though. The luxuriating side of myself was all for it, but she is often out-voiced by my taskmaster side. But after a day of feeling so exhausted that I barely got up by lunchtime, I finally told my taskmaster to step aside. She’s been in charge for the last six months. It was time for Luxuriating Peg to have the spotlight.
And oh, it’s been so good! I’ve devoured three memoirs so far:
- Hiroshi Kashiwagi’s Swimming in the American;
- Elizabeth Gilbert’s Eat, Pray, Love; and
- Gabrielle Hamilton’s Blood, Bones & Butter.
I have five more days left and I can’t wait to read
- Anne Serling’s As I Knew Him: My Dad, Rod Serling and
- Leonard Pitts, Jr.’s Grant Park (my only non-memoir pick).
I can’t tell you how happy all this reading has made me.
All this is a big reminder to listen to myself. No one knows me better than I do. I need to give myself what I need so that I can put the best of myself into my writing. Now that I know how good it makes me feel, I’m going to make reading retreats a regular part of my self-care.
New year. New insights. Onward!
Peg Cheng is the author of The Contenders, a middle-grade novel centered on the question, can enemies become friends? She is also the founder of Prelaw Guru, a law school application consulting company, and the author of The No B.S. Guides for prelaw students.
LOVE the idea of a reading retreat! Glad you are feeling more rested – and congratulations on deciding to write fulltime!
Peg Cheng says
Thanks so much, Caroline! Looking forward to all kinds of new adventures in 2016.
Edgy Cosgrove says
That is so brilliant. I’m trying to imagine a reading retreat. I actually cut way back on reading in my 30’s, because I wasn’t getting anything done in life, so a reading retreat sounds to me like a whiskey or heroin retreat.
You’re going big on memoirs–is this part of your self-reinvention? Inspiration, how-to? I swear, you are a life ninja, Cubby–I never know where you’re going to strike next.
Love and success,
Peg Cheng says
You crack me up, Edgy! My reading sabbatical was not as mind-bending (or body-bending) as those other retreats might be, but it was still really, really good. I feel refreshed and ready to embark on my new writing adventure!
I think your theory on why I’ve been so into memoirs is pretty spot-on. I like reading how people survive and thrive. Like you said, I think I’m always looking for both inspiration and how-to. Also, I’ve enjoyed reading biographies my whole life but it wasn’t until I started reading memoirs written by friends of mine (Mary Matsuda Gruenwald and Hiroshi Kashiwagi) in the last few years, that I realized how powerful the form is. They’re so much more personal than biographies. And as someone who has been helping prelaw students write their personal statements for the last 12 years, I have a deep appreciation and admiration for well-written personal narrative.
Life Ninja. I love it! Thank you for writing, Edgy. Always a pleasure to have your words grace the pages of my blog.
Laila Atallah says
Absolutely delicious! I’ve never heard of the concept of a “reading retreat,” but I like it! And, Edgy’s right — you really ARE a Life Ninja! So glad it hit the spot. Here’s to many more luxurious reading retreats in your writerly future.
Peg Cheng says
Ha ha!! I never thought of myself as a Life Ninja but if you and Edgy say so, then I guess I am. 🙂
I’m already thinking of when I can schedule my next reading retreat. I may take a page from your book and reserve a place through AirBnB so I can have a change of environment too.