Whoa! Before you all jump up and beat me for wearing dinosaur pyjamas, hear me out.
Anyone who understands what it takes to improve their writing gets what a big role reading plays in it all … right? In order to grow as a writer, the craft has to be studied—the practice as well as the theory … right?
I love books. It was my love of books that inspired me to write.
But … I’m damned if I can write whilst immersing myself in a really good book.
I’ll explain why.
As a writer, if you want me to read your stuff, you have to capture my heart and my soul, as well as my interest. I want stories in which I 100% connect with the character/s. I want to be racing back to the book at every available opportunity simply to turn another page and find out what happens next. I want the characters to consume my mind as I’m trying to fall asleep at night. I want them in my dreams. I want a resonation so strong the story is the first topic in my head upon waking.
I want to live, eat, breathe, sleep the characters—because if I’m halfway through your book, the chances are I’ve fallen in love with them, and that kind of connection with a story is an absolute high. I defy any lover of fiction to disagree.
All of THAT right there is my problem.
Because of the depth of investment I make in a book I love, they have a tendency to take over my mind … then where’s the room for my own creative juices to flow?
Now … this may sound like utter b******t to you … but not to me. And I’ll explain why.
I had a dip last year, where I could barely create a piece of flash, let alone a novel. I’m currently in one of those kind of dips now.
Said writing dips frustrate the HECK OUTTA ME!
Enough so that I decided I must get to the bottom of why they happen (after all, they can’t be writer’s block when I don’t believe in the damn infliction, right?).
It can’t be that I have an inability to multitask—heck, sometimes (translate: often) I have multiple WiP’s on the go, and even flitter between them all throughout the day to add words/paragraphs/chapters to each, without a hitch to voice, plot, characters. So, I knew there had to be another reason and went in search of … (dum dum duuuuum!) the common factor).
Did I spot a pattern?
Oh, you betcha.
A few weeks ago, a pile of books arrived in the post. Two authors/two different series’/5 books in one, 6 in the other. I picked one up to read … and, damn and blast it, I haven’t stopped 2 ½ weeks later. I’m now halfway through book 5 in the one series, because I can’t get enough of the characters.
Last year, when my major dip occurred, I seem to recall being temporarily unavailable to all of the ‘real’ people in my life due to works I disappeared into never to be seen again until I turned the last page.
So … see? I evidently can’t give writing my own work 100% of my focus when I stick my head in the covers of someone else’s world. I just can’t. Nuh-uh! Looks like I’ll have to consider … um … not reading (say what?) whenever I have a project that needs ploughing through.
What about you? Do get lost so far into another’s work that you struggle to find your way out to concentrate on your own stuff? Or are you simply waaaaaaaaaaaay more focused than me?