Monday, January 30, 2012

Do You Boycott Books When Writing?

I know there are some authors who don't like to read while they're writing, especially the same genre of books they're working on. They fear they will accidentally snag the author's voice or steal ideas and such.

But I am always reading. Well, almost always. In those rare days when I'm between books, I feel so lost. It's an odd feeling. It surprises me how many people  tell me they haven't read anything for months. How do they live? I haven't a clue.

I simply have so much to learn. And I can't learn it by only putting my fingers on my keyboard and typing away. I need to see how other writers have handled different problems or issues in their books. When I'm reading a book that I love, when it's like the sweetest and yummiest candy that I can't get enough of, I ask myself, "Why? Why do I love this so much?" or when I realize how much I care about a character, I again ask myself why. And how did the author do that?

Or when I find myself locked in the bathroom while my kids whine and cry on the other side and I reazlie I don't have much compassion for their suffering because I Have To Get To The End of The Book, I ask myself, "How can I write a book that makes readers neglect their responsibilities just so they can read my book longer?" Also I ask, "Are there any problems with my mothering skills?" Well, I am teaching them to love books...

So, what do you think? Do you read while you're deep in the thick of writing your WIP?


  1. I always read, but I also have to be careful that I don't lose the battle to just reading, which is tricky sometimes. I have a goodreads goal to read 50 books this year, and that is keeping me honest both ways.

  2. That is the question: How do I write a book that will keep readers up at night, desperate to get to the end. But I do (or did) the same thing. Lock myself in the bathroom to have some peace and quiet. Good luck finding balance. Just keep in mind that in terms of reading--it gets easier as your kids get older.

  3. I am not writing a book, but wanted to tell you that I am guilty of hiding in my closet to read. The kids always somehow find me. They zap me back into reality and I long for the world I was in with the book.

  4. I find that reading keeps me inspired--as long as what I read isn't *too* close to what I'm trying to write (then it's either depressing or I find my style morphing in strange ways).

    I tell myself that it's good for my kids to see me reading--the top predictor of a kid's reading success isn't how much the parents read to kids (it turns out), it's how much the children know that their parents enjoy reading (that, or the number of books in the house). Either way, I figure we're good. :)

  5. I've got this one thing that I really suck at. Truth. Lately, I've been obsessed with reading and watching how other authors do it. That's not really from a "I want to steal this" sort of standpoint, but just observation and figuring out how to meld the things I've learned with my own voice.

    I can't imagine not reading.