Monday, February 1, 2010

In Which I Am Conflicted

So I'm working on WIP, making steady forward motion when I come across the MOTHER OF ALL DISTRACTIONS.
So big that instead of being included on my distractions post, it needs it's very own post.

And no, it's not LOLCats

What it is, my friends, is reading a good book.

What's extra hard about this distraction is that, as a writer, we're supposed to be reading. A lot. We should be reading all the time, never stopping, never hesitating.

Only once have I heard a published author state that if you want to be a writer you need to stop reading right now because everything's been done to death and he didn't want budding authors copying existing ideas, and he was a nutbag

(On a side note, when I first read that comment, (and this comment was in a published book regarding authors - each author had a black and white artsy photo and a single page to blah blah about something. I don't remember if it was related to writing or if they could gab about whatever they wanted) I was utterly heartbroken. I thought, how horrible that I have to give up reading just to be a writer.
Good thing I would later find out this was actually anti-advice. I wish I could remember the author who said this so I could send him a nasty gram. What a d-bag)

I already mentioned how the end of WIP is dragging a bit and then, on top of it I finished my Les Edgerton Hooked book and moved onto the second Night Angel book. And this book is awesometastic. It's one of those books where you're like "do I really need to sleep? Surely I can just stay up and read all night and not feel crabby or like I'm dying the next morning". But the answer to that question is, yes you really need sleep. The book isn't going anywhere and you (or me at least) will ALWAYS regret not getting enough sleep.

So here I am, reading this book, and since I want to read it instead of sleep (and in case I haven't mentioned it (and I don't know if I have) I LOVE to sleep. I love it so so so so much. Also I have those great dreams, so that makes sleep even more awesometastic) you'd better believe I want to read it instead of write.

I don't know how to get around this dilemma. I mean, I need to read it. And I need to write. The two pastimes are mutually exclusive (or at least in my brain they are).

Clearly I need to finish one and concentrate on the other.

Damn you, wonderful books! Damn you for being so alluring and great that I can't put you down!


Anne Gallagher said...

You know, I love to read as well, and have, like you, foregone sleep to finish the awesometastic novel.
However, I find that if I read while I write, I get REALLY distracted and start to copy what the author has written. So now, I don't read while I write.

I have a list, and when I finished with the last WIP, I read for a month straight. I do need to get me some new glasses that's for sure. Now that I'm writing my current WIP, I've made another list for when this is finished, which hopefully coincides right around summer time. Oh, yes, there is nothing better than reading in the pool.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

That dude was crazy! We improve my continuing to write AND read.
I'm certainly not giving it up!

Anne Ahiers said...

Told you those books were awesome sauce. Wait until you get to the end- the last line is just fantastic

Austin Gorton said...

Yeah, I could never not read. I'm always reading something.

Whenever I'm working on something new, while I can't give up reading entirely, I do tend to stay away from stuff similar to what I'm writing, simply because I have this annoying tendency to subconsciously mimic another voice.

It's to the point where even if I read one particular blog for a good chunk of time in a day, my next blog post starts to sound like the ones I just read.

By shifting genres, I can usually avoid that in my writing. As a result, whenever I'm working on something new, and not just editing, I end up reading a lot of history. I read an overview of western civilization while working on my NaNo book (no superheroes there!).

In terms of bad writing advice, for years and years, I heard over and over that you can't be a real writer unless you write something at the same time every day. This always bugged me because I am not a "write at the same time everyday writer". Wish I was, maybe someday I will be, but my schedule just won't allow it, so that advice always bummed me out.

Then I read a quote from an author who basically said "you write when you write, and if it works for you, who cares?" I liked that advice a lot more. :)

Hannah said...

I know when I'm reading a great book I'm afraid it's going to continue without me and I'll miss something...crazy, I know. But books are soooooo good sometimes.

When I'm writing, I will still read but I'm like Teebore. I usually read nonfiction or fiction writing books. Those will actually keep me writing. If I go off genre and read another fiction book, it will distract me from my focus. If I'm writing horror and I read fantasy...I all of a sudden want to make the story a fantasy. So, I try to stay away from fiction for that moment or read a teen book.

I recommend "Writing Down the Bones" by Natalie Goldberg. She gives the best writing advice...realistic writing advice. And it's just a great inspirational book for anyone who wants to write anything.

Hannah said...

btw, is it just me or do you have 36 followers?!


Stark Raving Zen said...

Just indulge yourself and read the damn book! You're making progress on your great-american fantasy anyways, so what's the problem? Sheesh, you're strict with yourself! ;) In 'On Writing', by Stephen King, he says you MUST read your genre (or otherwise) a minimum of 4 hours a day. That's part of the process. You wouldn't want to disappoint Stephen would you? Bad things happen to people who disappoint Stephen... (am I horribly misspelling disappoint...? Why can't there be spell check on these comment thingys.)

Austin Gorton said...

Seriously, 36 followers. That's awesome! That makes you, like, a blogging superstar by my standards.

Unknown said...

I'm inspired by the awesome authors I read. As I continue to find my voice, those of accomplished writers entice my muse and get my creative juices flowing.

Sarah Ahiers said...

Piedmont - I don't seem to have the mimic the writer's voice problem. At least, not that I've noticed. God I hope I don't...

Alex - I know! ugh I wish I could remember what that book was. It was some old sci-fi dude that said it, which made me even more sad. Jerk

Anne - yes yes, I never said they WEREN'T good. So far I like book 2 more than 1.

Teebore - you and your history. nerd. ;-D
I try to be a "write at the same time every day" person. Mostly because that time of the day is more or less my free time for writing. Of course that goes out of the window on the weekends.

Palindrome - yeah, nothing gets you in the writing mood like reading writing books. I have Writing Down the Bones, I believe, but I don't think I've read it yet.
And yes, I gained 7 followers over the weekend (I didn't even blog on the weekend!) aren't they pretty and nice! (waves to new followers)

Zen - Oh I'll read the book, I'm making pretty steady progress on it. But I just get caught in a brief moment of guilt where I feel like I should be writing first and foremost. Ah well. Guilt passes.
Also I would kill for spell-check on comments - I tend to have a lot of typos.
And you don't think Stephen would, gulp, actually read this, do you? *looks around furtively.
I'd better clean the place up a bit...

Teebore - well your blog has had like, actual yearly anniversaries. That's superstardom in my book

Nicole - I agree - nothing like a good book to give you a kick in the bum regarding your writing.

Hannah said...

I'm with Nicole. There are some writers that I read that make me itch to sit down and try to produce something close to their brilliance. I usually end up banging my head against the table or looking at random pictures of monkeys on the interwebs. But the urge is there...

Sarah Ahiers said...

Palindrome...did you just change your avatar pic...?

Hannah said...

Whatever do you mean? ;)

Hannah said...

like this?

Joan Crawford said...

I am no writer but that guy who said "Don't read" is giving terrible advice. Even I, a barely literate mollusk, can see that isn't right.

I think it is best to inundate yourself with what you love - a huge bed with a hundred (million!) pillows and a good book - the best.

And Zen is right - we wouldn't want to disappoint Stephen :) Speaking of which - I went to an SK fan site once and there was this creepo lady and she was all "I AM going to have dinner with him. I am a loyal fan and he owes me." *Shudders*


Roni Loren said...

This happens to me all the time. I can't put down a good book, it's been a lifelong problem. :) It is frustrating when it affects my writing time, but like you, I refuse to give up reading.

Daisy Whitney said...

And think, someday it could be your book doing that to someone! Distracting them from writing!

Al said...

Reading is the food and drink of imagination.
You are only going to write better if you read.
Go for it!


Publish or Perish

Sarah Ahiers said...

Joan - so so ironice - as his biggest fan, you'd think she'd read Misery...

Roni - that is the lifelong problem you WANT to have

Daisy - gah, that would be so awesome!

Al - indeed indeed. It would be horrible to not be allowed to read

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