Everyone agrees that to be writer you must be a reader. I was an advanced and ravenous reader at a young age and then shifted to movies when I was older. My love of movies led to screenwriting which brought me back to the written word. Now I always have a book or two at hand, and I’ve taken to reading fellow writer’s blogs as inspiration, education, and mutual support. The problem is, I have a hard time reading and now switching off my writer brain.
When I read a book it will often give me ideas for my novel, or I think about how I would have written the scene. I critique and I soak up lessons between the lines, but it has become harder to just enjoy what I’m reading with no other agenda than escape into the story.
Fiction and nonfiction are all fuel for my own fire, reduced to kindling. I only skim blogs, and now that I’m following so many writers, I am quick to judge by title and photo if I will give my time to them on any given day. Choosing a snazzy label and face for your work is part of the game, as the readers we target are quick to judge our books with as much speed and concern. They don’t care that a blog took an hour and the book took two years. There are countless options available, and their coffee is getting cold.
I know that our efforts are fodder, and readers are picky consumers, but I don’t like it. I feel bad when I skip a paragraph or realize I was thinking about my novel on that entire last page. I know writers are working hard, and putting out blogs is work that goes unpaid and underappreciated. I realize how much of a life this book I’m holding represents.
Keep reading, as I will, but devote yourself to it. Cherish the words. Consider them. I will try to not to feed the writing animal when I visit other’s work, but he is hungry now. Time for treats.