Sunday, July 27, 2014

Sunday Story - reading hampering writing

I've always been a prolific reader - of any book at all, I'm not fussy, I just want to read. Even when I started writing this was the case. Actually, right up until this last year or so, I don't think I changed much.

And now, something has changed but I'm not entirely sure what it is, or how to cope with it!

I can no longer read books that bore me, that I find lacking (in character, story or writing craft), or those that just don't interest me. I've become quite ruthless with my 'did not finish' and no longer feel guilt. Until some months ago, I could count the number of books I hadn't finished on one hand, now, well, it's not something to count.

And converse to this, when I read a fabulous book, one that captivates me, transports me to a new world, wraps the characters around me like old friends, and makes me breathless with their word choices and descriptions... then I'm frozen. I'm no longer seeking out those books because they freeze my writing. They make me question what I'm doing. They make me feel lacking and incompetent.

A friend of mine reads the middle-of-the-road books while she writes and sticks the fabulous ones in when she's between stories. I didn't understand this - and now I do.

Reading was always my escape from the world. Now it's a torment. I'm judgemental as well as paralysed by greatness. I read to learn craft. I read to compare mine to theirs. I read to master things I don't do well. And it's rare for a book to make me escape these thoughts. I'm going to have to be choosy about what I read, and when I read them.

I could never understand people who read less and wrote more... now of course, I not only understand that decision, but I'm going to have to join them. Life always gives me these lessons - the ones where I have to eat my words (or thoughts)!

Do you have problems with reading and writing?

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