I used to be an obsessive reader. Not just an avid reader, but an obsessive, addictive, junkie-needing-a-fix reader. I always had a book or two on the go and about five lined up on my To-Be-Read shelf. I didn’t have more than five usually because I tore through books. And not because I was a fast reader (holy, am I slow), but because I read all the time. As in, I used to carry a book with me everywhere, because you never knew when you might have time to read a page in the grocery store line or at a red light. (I was also a bit of a geek and sometimes *gasp* preferred to spend a night in reading rather than go out with friends. Thankfully, I’ve come out of my shell enough to hang with my wordbitches.)
The sad thing is that when I started to take my writing seriously, I stopped reading so much. (Something’s gotta give, right?) So my TBR shelf became a bookcase. I also tried to limit what I was reading. I thought since I didn’t have as much time to read then I had to balance my reading time between craft books and novels. The novels I chose were almost all in my genre or the author had a skill set I wanted to develop. I thought I was doing the best thing for my writing career.
Except I wasn’t.
I am STILL in the midst of revisions for my WIP. In November, I had decided to ride the NaNoWriMo wave and finish my revisions for this manuscript. It was a totally doable goal. I’ve done more in less time before.
Except this time I couldn’t.
My ideas were drying up. I not only didn’t love my story, I wasn’t loving any story idea bouncing around my head. My imagination took longer and longer to spark. Like most of you, I have time constraints for my writing. I have one hour in the early morning before kids wake up. If it takes me thirty minutes to find my imagination and get my writing brain rolling then I’m wasting precious time. I knew something needed fixing.
Except I didn’t know what. Or How.
I’ve wallowed in this for months now. Trying not to panic and let thoughts of failure hold me back, but its been hard. I was at the end of NaNoWriMo and not really any closer to finishing my novel. In a complete funk I rebelled against my chosen writing path.
I bought a juicy paranormal romance by Jeaniene Frost that wasn’t even catalogued in my TBR library and read it without stopping. When I finished I reveled in the book buzz, drunk on a good story. And like an addict who’s fallen off the wagon, I defiantly grabbed another and tossed that one back too.
I think I read five books that week. It was a bit of a blur. My children never want to eat cereal again for some reason. I haven’t stopped reading (though I’ve slowed the frantic pace a bit.) I’m still reading two to three books a week, and I’m still on an almost constant book buzz. Woot! I’ve had to cut out some blog reading, some TV watching and lots of housework, but I’m feeding my addiction again. I’m reading whatever I want and absolutely loving it.
And guess what? (Yes, I know you’ve guessed it.) My writing loves it too. My imagination and I have reconnected, and we’ve found our story love again. We can now be found most early mornings cozying together in front of the laptop. Don’t you love a happy ending?
How does reading affect your writing or your life?