When a Writer Reads

readerWhen a writer reads, a lot is happening.

If the book is good, there is one level of enjoyment, a second of envy, and a third of collecting style and ideas for future mimicry.  If the book is amazing, sometimes the envy hits like a punch in the gut.  If the book is flabbergasting, sometimes the enjoyment wins out and puts the envy on the backburner until the book is over.  Sometimes.

If I’m re-reading a book I love, my brain is whirring like a machine: pictures … could I introduce characters with pictures? The author started with a flood of memories … interesting way to get it all on the table.  Dual POV … is it working?  Structure, repetition, imagery, setting … 

Whirr …

Whirr …

Whirr …

I never regret being a writer, since it’s one of my truest joys, although it makes my life exponentially more difficult.  The closest I get to that regret though is probably when I’m reading.  It’s been a while since I’ve been able to just. simply. read.

It’s easier to read outside of my genre, which makes sense, since the envy lessens.  I don’t have aspirations to be an incredible fantasy writer, so it’s easier to give fantasy writers their due accolades and move on.  But then again, my favorite genre is contemporary, the genre in which I write, so of course I want to read those books.  And they’re often going to be the ones that will propel my writing the most.

What a strange tightrope writers walk!  There is almost nothing I love more than a good book– and yet, I’m doomed to have my enjoyment tainted simply because I’ve chosen that writing life for myself (or that life has chosen me).

I read a lot of book blogs, and I marvel at how differently a reader reads from the way a writer reads.

This sounds like a lament, and I suppose it is a little.  But then again, I get to be a writer, and for that it’s all worth it.

4 thoughts on “When a Writer Reads

  1. Pingback: The Reader | Lights All Around

  2. Pingback: Words Can Heal Too | Lights All Around

  3. Pingback: Grieving the Reader’s Experience | Lights All Around

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