Friday, April 10, 2009

Writing/Reading Tension

How many of you writers out there find it hard to balance your love for reading with your love for writing? (Inherently assumed in this question is that you DO love to read.) Most of you probably have day jobs that aren't writing, which leaves exactly a few hours in the evening (likely when you're trying to cook dinner, spend time with family, etc) for you to wield your craft. So do you alternate nights reading and typing?

When I'm in those precious few hours in the evening, I find myself loath to pick up a book when I have the laptop sitting right there and know I could work on tweaking a chapter or starting a new scene. But here of late, my to-be-read pile has been stacking up higher and higher. So, on the trip to the doctor's, I brought one with me (Linore Rose Burkard's Before the Season Ends - see my Shelfari for more info) to read while waiting to be called.

I was thrilled yesterday to open it and get engrossed in the time period and language or the regency. Regency romances make you wait a bit for the first introduction of the heroine and hero, and I was jonesing for it! When it finally happened, I was so satisfied. It was great to get involved in a book's been a long time since I've had the motivation to do so.

But perhaps one good book was all that was needed to open the floodgates once again. Of course, on the flip side, if a book doesn't grab my attention, I'm not going to read it. I use to be pretty masochistic about this and would read a book regardless because I had paid money for it. But no more. Free time is such a commodity I'm not willing to waste my time!

Q4U: Is this a problem for anyone else? Are you able to read and write as much as you want? If you are reading other books, are you able to turn off your internal editor?

Wordle: signature


Katie said...

My answers are: Yes, No, and No. I never have enough time in the day to write as much as I'd like - let alone read!! There's so little time to fit reading into my schedule anymore. Which is just so sad, because I absolutely love it and it really does help me to be a better writer. I also used to feel bad about not finishing a book - but if it doesn't grab me right away, I just don't have the time for it.

And no - my cursed internal editor is always on now! I'm always critiquing. Can be very frustrating.

I need to go find a good book. Another problem I have is rereading. I'm always rereading the same books (because they are a sure thing) instead of broadening my horizons.

Any good book suggestions? Wow - this was a ridiculously long post

Did you get my insane email, by the way? :)

Jeannie Campbell said...

i DID get it, katie! you pumped me up again. :) i'm with you on the internal's hard to turn it off. i want to just get lost in the plot, not hung up on -lys or overuse of a word (which is becoming something of a pet peeve...isn't that a hoot?). a well-loved book is read over and over..which ones do you read all the time?

PatriciaW said...

I'm exactly the opposite. I always have a book with me, and I'm always reading. I have to tell myself to put the book down to write sometimes. Book first, write second is usually the way I think because it's rare for the laptop my family shares to be available to me before the late night hours. On weekends, I carve out more writing time.

Katie said...

It seems every year I whip out the Mark of the Lion trilogy by Francine Rivers and reread all the parts with Mark and Hadassah in them. :)

I also used to read the Harry Potter books over and over again. But I haven't read those since the seventh book came out.

And I blush to admit it - but I've read the Twilight books over a few times! I *heart* Edward.

sherrinda said...

I read every night in bed before I turn out the light. I used to could stay up late and get through my piles of TBR books faster, but alas, I am aging and can't keep my droopy eyelids open as long as I used to.

I usually don't have trouble deciding between books and writing. It is usually blogs and writing...or tv and writing. *gasp* TV is such a time sucker.

Cindy said...

I WISH I could read and write as much as I want. I find that many times reading a book will help me immensely in the inspiration department toward writing my own.

I am terrible at turning off my internal editor when I read books. I am always saying, "she definitely should have developed the character more" or "his prose is too wordy". I have to try to remember that my taste isn't everyone else's taste and try to enjoy the book for the story, if nothing else.

Sue said...

We did it!

Jeannie Campbell said...

katie - i totally read the marcus/hadassah scenes over from the first two books (hardly ever pick up book 3)!!! and gotta love the edward/bella scenes...i've reread those, myself! (although i was team jacob until book 4 when i realized how she was going to wrap up the little jacob issue).

sherrinda - i used to have that problem, but now we don't have TV. it was a decision we made. and it's can watch just about anything you want on anyway! check it

cindy - i wish i could say i'm able to overcome the internal editor, as well...but alas, i'm not!

sue - you rock.

Krista Phillips said...

Oh, yes! I work full time and have 3 little ones, and my time is so precious. I don't have a specific schedule, because I'd just get frustrated when it all went to pot (which believe me, it would!).

I try to allow myself reading time at least once a week. And if the book is good, I can't get back to my writing until I've finished it. I haven't had a book take me over 2 days to finish in a long time!

As for my writing time, I try to fit in whenever I can, like tonight, althought I keep getting sidetracked by the dad-blamin internet! LOL

Lady Glamis said...

I find it very hard to read while I'm writing a new WIP. Editing is different. I can read while editing, but actually writing that first draft, I'm completely focused and can't read other work. One-track mind, I guess. :D

Jeannie Campbell said...

krista - it's probably a good thing not to have the type schedule that would just upset you further if you were to not keep it. :) i like the flexible thing.

lady glamis - sounds like you've got a great system going on! write and then edit/read other stuff. after this book (which had sidetracked me from my first draft) i'll have to try that.

Katie said...

I have such a problem with this. I ALWAYS choose laptop - but I always get more help/am more stimulated in my own work when I choose a book.

whoa is me... (how do you spell that?!)

Jessica said...

I'm never able to read as much as want! LOL