Sunday, April 13, 2014

Staying Balanced: Can you Read and Write?

As an author it's pretty clear my first love was reading, and the writing followed as a natural progression.  I would get so immersed in a good book it was difficult to put it down and tear myself away from the the glorious words.  I got involved with the characters and saw them as people with feelings and hoped the protagonist would pull through and the antagonist would get what was coming.  A good book could spark emotion, and thought in me and I became a writer because I wanted to be able to do that for others.  

Years of writing has taught me one thing, and I've learned its nearly impossible for me to stay balanced between my two loves: reading and writing.  Picking up a book can suck me in relatively quickly and once that point of no return happens and it gets to one cliffhanger after another, I know whatever I was working on is simply getting put on hold until the end.  Deciding to pick up a novel can be risky and quite dangerous to my level of productivity.  When working on a manuscript there's a strict no fiction rule but for the ultimate book worms this is hard to enforce.  In order to accomplish anything I need to sacrifice one to make time for the other, and ultimately since one gives me an income I find the choice is obvious.  I've come to the sad realization that I haven't touched a novel since last July and for an author and a book lover this really needs to change.  

As an author getting inspired from books written by others is important, and you need to read to learn what works and what doesn't, discover new writing styles, and techniques to built a strong foundation of skills.  Reading and writing are so fundamentally connected, giving up one so the other might thrive is like choosing between which twin will live and which will die.  Its not an option.  The growing pile of unread books in my collection are calling my name and this summer I challenge myself and others in similar predicaments to solve the problem for staying balanced between the two.  I can't be the only one battling this problem and its time for a solution.  
It's hard to stay invested in two stories simultaneously, even when one of those is my own vision.  It's
part of the reason I'm always left scratching my head at those people who can have two or more novels on the go at the same time.  You know those people who have a book a home, a book for school/work and a novel or two on the go.  I don't understand you, but if anyone can truly turn their brain off from one thing and move to the next without missing a beat, kudos to you.  Maybe I just fail at multitasking.  Please leave your writing problems and solutions in the comments.  I'd like to hear everyone stories and writing experiences.  Maybe something will help out others.  

I know this is typically informal compared to the usual articles here, but I'm trying something different.  I may post a more personal article every Sunday if it gets interest. So opinions are more than welcome.  

I would like to note that although when I write I give up fiction novels I still read a considerable amount of non fiction and short stories that don't take up as much time in one sitting.  So I'm not completely giving up reading, I'm just giving up novels I know I'll have trouble putting down.       

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