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  • J. J. Hanna

Post-College Summer Struggles: To Read or Write?

Updated: Dec 11, 2019

This happens to me every year.

The weather gets warm.

The sun comes out.

And I find myself in a conflict. Should I read or should I write?

This is a conflict because for once, I do have time to do both of these things. Without other obligations of work (for now) or school (unless I decide to get a master's degree), I find myself choosing how I'll spend my time.

And no matter how I choose, there seems to be a guilt accompanying my choice.

If I read, I may miss out on the way the muse is actually talking to me right now. But if I write, I may never finish all the books I want to read during this time.

Now, the logic in me says, "Write for an hour or two and then read." Or vice versa.

But then come the struggles of being a college graduate without a career path yet. The mental to-do list looks something like this:

1. Unpack

2. Apply for jobs

3. Go to job interviews

4. Work on platform (you need that to be an author, you know)

5. You should probably write that book

6. Ah, but don't forget those review books you agreed to read and review

7. And what about all the books that came out when you were in college that you couldn't read then due to homework?

8. Oh, but you shouldn't go to the library (even though you want to) because you have an entire shelf of books at home you should read.

9. Nope. Don't go to the store, either. I don't care if you want to. You need to save money.

10. Have you unpacked yet?

11. It's summer! Go outside!

12. Have you done work for the literary agency you're part of yet this week? You should probably do that.

And on. And on. And on.

Of course, my logical side responds with possible plans. "What if you work on platform one day a week? Spend today writing, and spend tomorrow reading. Go for a walk for a few minutes out in the daylight. It's good for you. Read a book from home, then read a book from the library."

In short, my logic wants me to compromise with myself and the pressures I feel.

The pressure is still there, though, to do everything all at once. Every minute feels like it's vital to my success in the future. Everything on my to-do list seems to be accompanied by a cynical voice that, when offering useful advice, keeps me on track.

But when my head says, "READ," and my gut says, "WRITE," I go into conflict.

When that happens, I find myself stuck, unable to move in any direction.

So, as the book I'm "supposed" to be reading has suggested, I'm going to make a choice.

And I'm probably going to have to compromise. I think, for the next span of time, a timer will be my friend. Or, perhaps, I'll take a note from a college friend, and use a cup of tea as a timer. (To read more about Josh's method, visit his blog.)

How did you get back into reading after being in a reading slump? Leave suggestions in the comments.

Until next time,

I'll see you then. ;)


J. J. Hanna graduated from Taylor University with a degree in Professional Writing. She's currently working with literary agent Cyle Young, learning to be a literary agent, and working as a freelance writer and editor. To hire her for editing, writing, speaking, or consulting, see the services tab. In her free time, she can be found cuddling with a cat, reading the latest suspense novel, or filming YouTube videos about the publishing industry.


This week's BookTube video was an incomplete list of the books I plan on eventually reading this summer. See last week's post here for the full list.

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