Reading and/or Writing

I’ve realised I can’t read and write at the same time. No, I don’t mean simultaneously (though that would be a good trick). I’ve been reading my library books since my last post (half way through the second one at the mo) and I’ve noticed that instead of writing in the last few days I have preferred to pick up the book and finish the story I’m reading. Is that a bad thing or a good thing?

Partly I think it is because my creative mind needs to be focused on the narrative at hand: I don’t want to start regurgitating aspects of the novel I’m currently reading in my own writing, especially given the genres are quite different (I’m reading Kathy Reichs). I find that my brain struggles to follow more than one storyline at a time, perhaps in the past that would not have been the case, but it is for the time being. Also, I don’t want to start blurring the lines between the characters I like in the novels I’m reading and the chracters I’ve created in my own writing. It’s fine to pick up tips and hints on how to show qualities and traits without having to refer to them directly in a person, but I feel they need different influences and time to settle in my brain before I start assimilating attributes for my own purposes.

My writing has also taken a hit because, once again, work has been very busy for me. I’m struggling to switch off from my job, which I am very fortunate to love. However, my usual habit of creatively stumbling upon ‘Eureka’ moments in the moments before sleep that are useful for stories and characters and settings has recently shifted to ideas of brilliance connected to my employment. Great for my career there potentially, not fantastic for my writing!

Again, I’m realising the troughs and peaks writers go through during the natural rhythm of day to day life. At the moment I feel I am in a period of absorbtion: wanting to find inspiration and material to help push me forward when I sit down to write. It’s also a settling time, whereupon the work so far can be pondered and critiqued in my mind: allowing my brain some rest from the perpetual need to move forward with my own novel and providing some downtime to consider how the story so far is working out and if I’m happy to continue with it in the way I have set out.

I’m going to enjoy the time and not feel guilty about adding to my wordcount right now, because I know that when I return to it shortly I’m going to have something new to add to it. My mind is constantly whirring away in the background as I’m reading and the information is being filtered and refined. This is akin to research for me, so I’m going to get stuck in and see where I end up.



One response to “Reading and/or Writing

  1. Ah, I’m the same. I can’t read and write at the same time. I have a tendency to take on the qualities of whatever I’m reading, and that’s not usually a good thing at all, ending up drowning trying to subconsciously mimic somebody else’s voice. I definitely relate to those ‘Eureka!’ moments with story, but they just don’t seem to come anymore. Absorption…that sounds so pleasant, and so right. I’m a lot like you in that sense. When I’m in a reading mode, I don’t do anything but read and absorb. And when I write, I just plain write. Just two different mindsets, I think. Life and writing have a strange sort of balance.

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