I took a break from writing. Quite deliberately. I’ve not looked at my blog or my website for ten days. I needed to go and read. I needed to not write for a little bit, because sometimes you just have to walk away, especially when there are three or four avenues opening up in front of you and you don’t know which one to take.
So, a reading holiday it was, if you will. I’ve been neglecting my reading for a bit in favour of writing. But one can’t be a writer, if one is not also a reader. It’s a part of my education of becoming a writer that I study other writers. It’s quite necessary.
It’s also a good reminder of what I aspire to. Thus I read critically.
Today marks my return to writing. I will continue to read, striking more of a balance, because neither should be favoured over the other. Both are equally important.
I find that no reading is purely recreational any more. That’s just as well. I listen to voice, read dialogue aloud, figure out what works and what doesn’t work in the book I’m reading. Make a mental note at least of the passages I find myself flying over, because they offer detail I’m not interested in. Lengthy passages aren’t always necessary. If I read a book that could’ve easily been one hundred pages shorter without loss to the narrative and would, in fact, have benefited from a tighter structure, I most certainly pay attention.
The most well written book has flaws.
I used to finish books at all cost. I didn’t want to leave a book unfinished, but lately I’ve found myself putting a book down, if I don’t feel I can continue. I am a voracious reader, but sometimes I loose my appetite. Some writers I never put down, others I am unable to pick up, and every now and then I need persuading.
Reading a novel is a commitment of at least several hours of your life. Nowadays such a commitment does not seem to be easily made. I have things to do, after all. But as a part of my becoming a writer, my continued learning, it is vital for me to read books that aren’t great, just so I can figure out what went wrong.
I hope that it helps me become better at what I am doing, or trying to do.
I have at least two blogs up my sleeve, short stories are waiting, so is my website. I have a flight to take tonight, I should have the time to wrestle with some of it.
Anyway, I’m back.