School went back today after summer holidays (cue millions of smiling mums),
which for me means more time to write at my sparkly new desk (yippee) and a little less time to read (not so yippee). I did manage to finish two books over the holidays (I am the world’s slowest reader), and start another, which given my very poor track record over the last year and a half (which my book club can attest to), isn’t too bad. But I have a bit of a problem, and it’s this…
Ever since I got serious about this writing malarkey, I’ve not enjoyed reading nearly as much as I used to!
I don’t seem to be able to turn my writer brain off and I find myself picking stories to pieces, being overly critical about plot (well that was far too convenient a coincidence), character (there is nothing likeable about anyone in this story), pacing (too much exposition – get to the action), and so it goes on. Now, I know some people will say that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. To be a better writer it’s good to figure out what works and what doesn’t for those who’ve gone before you. Learn from them, learn what you like, what you don’t. As aspiring authors the most common piece of advice we’re giving is read, read, read. And that’s all true. But this type of critical analysis does kind of kill the magic a little and I don’t know how to turn that part of my brain off. How to just read and be swept away without thinking “what was the purpose of that scene?”
Maybe I’ve just been picking the wrong books. I mean, I’ve liked books I’ve read in the past 18 months, but I haven’t really like-liked any – you know, when you just have to tell everyone you know to get their hands on a copy or their lives won’t be worth living. Maybe I just haven’t found that next gem yet.
And that’s what makes me keep going. Being ever hopeful of finding the next story that sets up camp in my heart and never moves out. It’s happened before (as evident here and here) so surely it will happen again. Right? RIGHT??
I bought myself three new books for Christmas (one I’ve read and hated, two I haven’t got to yet – keeping fingers crossed), so I’m not about to give up. But I just long for that feeling again of falling in love with the words, the pages, the world I’m taken in to.
Somehow I need to turn writer-Sandie off and rediscover reader-Sandie. But how?
Maybe you can help me peeps. Any tips? Perhaps a recommendation for a book that will wrench me out of this reading slump?
Help me find the love again.