My New Year’s resolution is to read less. 

I’m a librarian; my whole life should be about books, right? Well, my life isn’t just about reading books. It’s also about (among many things) creation, and connection. I get to do some of those things here on this platform as part of my job, which is really rad, but a lot of it happens on my own time. 

Last year, I spent a lot of my spare time reading, and because of that, I read the most books I’ve read in a long time. I also read some amazing and honestly life-changing books. But this year, I want to read less to devote more time to the two things I mentioned above: creation and connection.   

Writing, or any art form, is personal, which means it’s easy for an artist to isolate. Sometimes, this is a good thing; there’s something magical about shutting yourself away from distraction and just creating. But this can also be a bad thing – because then, when you’re stuck in a frustrating creative block by yourself, it’s hard to get out. 

It also requires effort to keep yourself accountable. Just as I didn’t tidy my room as a kid without my parents telling me, I find writing hard without someone checking in on my progress or a deadline to hit. It’s easier to do the more accessible, less straining thing – like reading – rather than sit down and do the work that is creating. 

This is where the connection part of my goal comes in. 

Last year was not a good writing year for me. So much so that I stopped referring to myself as a writer, and I also stopped mentioning it as something I enjoyed doing. However, I got out of my writing slump through connection. 

It started with someone asking me to co-facilitate a monthly writing group at the Medford library beginning in October. Even though I didn’t immediately add to my word count, just being around people who write or who, like me, have been struggling to write has tremendously benefited me. 

Another connection point was in November when a friend sent me a link to an open submission for a magazine with the note “thought of you INSTANTLY and had to share. We should both submit something.” 

And just like that – I had a partner for one project at least. Someone to check in with, read each other’s work, and, most importantly, cheer each other on.   

While it is important to be your own cheerleader, it sure feels good to have someone else be that for you, too, especially regarding something that is otherwise so personal and isolating. 

So yes, this year, I am going to read less. But I am going to create more, and I’m going to connect more. 

The JCLS mission statement is to “connect people with information, ideas, and each other,” so if you’re like me and are looking for opportunities to connect – we got you. 

We have so many regular programs (weekly or sometimes monthly) to connect you with people.  

If you are wanting something low pressure, and just to connect with people, there is Coffee & Crosswords at the Central Point Library. If you want to be more active, there is Bookin It – a walking club out in Butte Falls or gentle Qigong in Jacksonville. If you like fiber arts, there is Yarnia in Eagle Point, or Knit Happens in Gold Hill. We also have plenty of writing groups in case you are wanting to get rid of some writers block, like me.

And, of course, we also have book clubs (and lots of books) in case your New Year’s resolution is to read more.