Writerly Wednesday: A Competition to Get Me Out of my Reading Rut

Welcome to another edition of Writerly Wednesday. This week TB is sharing why she organized the IHL Reading Challenge.

A Competition to Get Me Out of my Reading Rut

As I sit at my desk, penning this piece, I still can’t wrap my head around the fact the calendar has ticked over to 2022. That means we’ve entered the third calendar year of the pandemic.

It’s been trying on so many levels, but I’ve been relatively lucky, all things considered.

Early in the pandemic (mid-March 2020), I became incredibly ill after returning from a work trip in London. At first, I thought the illness was nothing more than a cold. Or maybe that’s what I wanted to think.

I recovered after a week, but two weeks later, I got struck down again. Then again, and again, and again.

In the beginning, my symptoms didn’t seem to tick many of the COVID boxes. It wasn’t until the symptoms list expanded and people started talking about long COVID (some experience symptoms for months after getting sick) that I had an a-ha moment and realized that could be the cause. While I remained miserably sick, there wasn’t much I could do. We were being advised to stay home if unwell and not to go to a hospital unless we needed immediate treatment for life-threatening conditions. Testing was scarce to non-existent. So I stayed home and waited it out.

To this day, I don’t know if I had COVID. I do know I was sick for well over six months, and I still don’t have the energy levels I did before the pandemic. It’s hard to know if this is a result of my lingering illness or all the stress from the pandemic, political events, extreme weather, and everything else in life that so many of us have been managing daily.

Again, though, I feel lucky. Many others have been hit much harder during these years.

One thing I’ve been sorely missing is the energy to read a book. I’m a writer. Reading for me is not only good for my soul, but necessary for my craft.

To help get me back into the habit of reading, I devised a reading challenge on IHL. Sure, the goal is to get everyone to read more sapphic fiction, but I can’t lie and say I didn’t have a hidden motive. I’m really competitive, and I knew if I started a competition, I would take it seriously.

At the time of writing this, it’s January 4th, and I’m more than halfway through my first book of 2022. So far, my get-me-reading mission is working. Not only that, I’ve been looking forward to my reading time in the evening. Hopefully, this means the pandemic will no longer be successful in stealing my love of reading. I know it’s early days, but I much prefer being optimistic.

For those of you who want to take part in the 2022 IHL Reading Challenge, click here for the deets.

Happy reading, peeps!


About TBM

TB Markinson is an American who's recently returned to the US after a seven-year stint in the UK and Ireland. When she isn't writing, she's traveling the world, watching sports on the telly, visiting pubs in New England, or reading. Not necessarily in that order. Her novels have hit Amazon bestseller lists for lesbian fiction and lesbian romance. She cohosts the Lesbians Who Write Podcast (lesbianswhowrite.com) with Clare Lydon. TB also runs I Heart Lesfic (iheartlesfic.com), a place for authors and fans of lesfic to come together to celebrate lesbian fiction.
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