April 22, 2013

Reading and Writing in Shifts

I almost titled this post, My TBR Pile is Out of Control, because, well, IT IS. When I'm writing a first draft, I don't read very much on the side. I know some writers who read every day, or every night before bed, but when I'm in the throes of a first draft, I have to keep my eyes on the prize so to speak. Other books can be a distraction.

My current May TBR pile (plus ebooks)
There are times, however, when I pause during drafting to read a book because I need an injection of voice--or a slap in the face, ie: look at how awesome this is and are your words even close to this good? Believe it or not, that kind of slap motivates me. It's really important to keep your goal in focus as you write--your goal being to produce something that's good enough to go on a shelf next to these other published books. Therefore, the published books MUST be faced, and wept over, and admired.

But other than those moments, I tend to hoard reading for when I'm not drafting. Generally, I read a ton of books while I journal a new idea. Each book does something in such a spectacularly awesome fashion that reading them while developing my own idea challenges me to address the awesome at a planning stage. Then I draft. When I'm done, I toss that puppy at my CPs from a moving vehicle and drive straight to the library/bookstore/home to read another avalanche of books.

This accomplishes two things: first, binge reading provides separation from the story I've been working on (distance that will make revision much easier); second, re-immersion into other people's craft highlights all of that awesome I'm trying to achieve yet again, so that when I DO begin my revisions, I'm ready to push myself even harder.

So that's why I end up reading and writing in shifts.

Do you do this, too? Or not? And if you have any awesome books to add to my May TBR pile, let me know!

9 comments:

  1. I always have some book waiting for me. I kind of look at them as fuel for my brain.

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    1. Exactly! Reading is a writer's homework, right?

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  2. I read all the time -- on line at the grocery store or post office, at stop lights, before bed, in the bathroom, while I'm watching a ball game, just about anywhere anytime. It doesn't matter if I'm in the middle of drafting or revising or not. But my TBR pile is always HUGE anyway. Just not ever enough time for everything.

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    1. This is what I'm like on a binge. I've even tried reading while walking but failed.

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  3. Yep. I do this. But right now, while I work on a new baby and simultaneously revising another work I'm reading a lot of books on craft. But I gotta squeeze in at least one in the genre I'm working on--or totally not. Maybe something to get my head out of my genre. I know, I'm so contradictory. I guess I flow where ever the waves go. Or my womanly whims. :)

    ...but then, I can do this right now. With no pressure, except my own.

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  4. When I'm working on my MG I either don't read or I only read YA, and when I go on a reading binge (90% MG) I don't work on my projects.
    I admire your routine because personally I worry if I do that I will "copy" something from those books into my wip.

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    1. I know what you mean--but I find that even if I admire something I will twist it into my own words, my own voice . . . although I have read published phrases that I now avoid even though I love them.

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  5. I only read during writing breaks too simply because I have the feeling it effects my own writing. I feel like my thoughts are being mutated ;) But when I take a one or two day break and throw myself at my TBR pile, I make a concious attempt to watch for things in others' writing that I admire. Learning but staying true to myself.

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