I’ve hardly managed any writing of late. This is mainly due to the fact that I have instead been reading, furiously. Four books in less than two weeks. A long time ago, in the period where I had stopped writing, four books would have been a slow couple of weeks, but in the last year or so when I’ve had my focus on writing, reading has been sparodic at best.
I already know that I struggled to write when reading other fiction. I get too caught up in the story I’m reading and find it leaking into my own when I go back to writing. However, I do find it theraputic for my writing – even though I become less productive because of it. Reading exposes me to other environments, allows me to explore other methods of storytelling, opens my eyes to new language and prose; it teaches me how to build character, where climax works best and how often description and dialogue is needed when the action is ongoing. Reading is the school of writing.
So, I haven’t written much. But I do feel that I’m learning. The novel I’ve just finished reading had a similar type of twist to the storyline to the one I am writing, and it provided me with a window to see how such a complex plot could develop from seemingly simple characters. I’ve been doubting my upcoming narrative, unsure if it marries with the rest of the novel I’m writing, but now I see that perhaps it has been building up to this all along: that this next part is what is needed to shift the reader’s perspective and drag them even further into the character’s life. Reading that recent book has helped me understand that such a concept can work, and that it is also sometimes necessary to make the story worthwhile.
I don’t know if I’m done with reading yet, somehow I still feel like it has something to teach me before I can begin the task of continuing my novel: I’m searching for guidance and finding it in other authors’ words and that is a comforting feeling.