I met yesterday with my real life writers’ group, and after doing some critiques, we—as we usually do—chatted a bit about what we’re watching and reading. And one of the interesting things to me was how differently some of us function as writers and readers.
When I’m actively writing a book or novella, I struggle to read. When I do read then, I usually read outside of genre. I can read mystery or romance or non-fiction…but reading fantasy just doesn’t work.
The thing that I struggle with is my internal editor. My brain, as it’s reading, wants to restructure every sentence, swap paragraphs four and seven, and change all the dialog tags. And after a time, I’m not reading the story any longer…I’m only looking at words. And then I stop caring about the story. It’s weird.
(There are rare exceptions to this. I can, for example, read an author whose style is wildly different from mine—let’s say, Ben Aaronovitch—and for some reason, the internal editor turns off.)
Because of this, I usually build up a bunch of reading to do between projects. So I’ll finish writing a book and then read voraciously for a while before turning back to writing again. I usually schedule time for that.
One of my writer friends, however, said that she has no problem reading while she’s writing. She’s a very disciplined reader, and tackles a poem, a short story, and a bit of novel reading every day. WOW!
And a third threw in the point that she doesn’t re-read things…whereas I can reread books over again and again. (I also have no problem with spoilers in movies or TV, which may be related.)
I always find it fascinating that writers have such different approaches to reading, so I thought I would see if there were other opinions out there. Here are a few questions:
- Do you reread books?
- Do you read in a disciplined manner? Or do you read in a haphazard, on-and-off, when-the-mood-takes-you fashion?
- Do you read exclusively within genre? Or do you read outside genres?
- Do you read the newest stuff immediately? Do you read only some authors immediately? Or are you, like me, constantly behind the reading curve?
- Do you binge read?
- And for writers: Is there a difference in reading habits between when you’re actively writing and when you’re not?
Bonus question: How big IS your TBR pile? (photos welcome)
HOW DO YOU READ?