Wednesday, February 1, 2017

#IWSG: When Writers Read


This month the #IWSG is asking:  How has being a writer changed your experience as a reader?

Short answer: Completely!

Longer answer:

In some ways it's probably for the better. I read better books. Now that I have some insight into the process, I'm impatient with lazy writing or bad editing. I know that there is help to be had, and that hard work improves the piece, and I get frustrated with authors or publishers who aren't putting in that level of effort. I'm definitely more apt to just give up on a book that isn't working for me. Life is too short for that! 


Sadly, becoming a writer has made it more difficult for me to really lose myself in a story. I'm pulled out by things I once would have glossed over or excused, hence that willingness to just stop reading something. That's why I'm so happy when a story can really move me, or make me laugh or cry. It's harder to do than it used to be. I feel like I've become more of a cynic or skeptic, harder to impress. 

I do miss simply getting lost in a book, like a spell has been cast and I can no longer feel the world around me. It's the best sort of escapism. It still happens sometimes, but nowhere near as frequently as it once did. Part of that is just that I am older and I've read so many more things. But part of it that I'm writer.

I'm always reading like a writer these days. Heck, I even watch television like a writer, picking apart plot decisions and characterization to the point that I'm surprised my family will talk to me about stories at all. Whether the story really works for me or really doesn't work for me, I'm always trying to figure out why. Was it falling into stereotypes or tropes without doing anything to make them new and interesting? Was it too much like other stories, with nothing to surprise or amaze me? Was it so different that I felt at sea, with no place to stand and view the story? 

I still love reading. I'm just pickier now. It means I'm frustrated sometimes. But it means that my joy is all the more joyful when I find something that rocks my world. How about you? What kind of reader are you?
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If you're not already following #IWSG (Insecure Writer's Support Group), you should really check it out. The monthly blog hop is a panoply of insight into the writing life at all stages of hobby and career. Search the hashtag in your favorite social media venue and you'll find something interesting on the first Wednesday of every month.


15 comments:

  1. "Sadly, becoming a writer has made it more difficult for me to really lose myself in a story. I'm pulled out by things I once would have glossed over or excused, hence that willingness to just stop reading something. That's why I'm so happy when a story can really move me, or make me laugh or cry. It's harder to do than it used to be. I feel like I've become more of a cynic or skeptic, harder to impress."

    This whole paragraph really hits the nail on the head for me. It's so true! I'm much picker now than I used to be, but boy, doesn't it feel great when we do read that truly amazing story?

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  2. Yeah... Goes with the territory. My hubby often looks at me half way through a TV show or movie and asks if I've got the ending figured out. It's rare I'm wrong, but I live for those instances. Unless they're just stupid endings.

    I've adopted this set of rosy glasses for reading. Lately, I can just put this haze over my inner editor and read. It's been SOOO nice.

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    1. Yes! My older daughter sometimes HATES to watch TV with me for just this reason. I hope I can find a set of those glasses. Any idea where you got those?

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  3. I'm the same: genuinely delighted when a book surprises me or I get lost in it. That's how u know it's truly great! 💖

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  4. I still have an easy time getting lost in books. Sometimes I hold off reading a book because I don't have the energy to for the emotional investment I know I will end up having.

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  5. Once you see beyond the curtain, you can never un-see it. It takes a really good book (and great author!) to make me forget I'm even reading.

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    1. Yes! I'm always trying to find more authors of that description.

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  6. See, sometimes I don't mind focusing on the craft aspect of writing when I'm reading, good or bad. I find it fascinating and a completely different way to enjoy a book. I like to think about why the author made (or didn't make) certain choices, and that will help me make those choices when I get to them myself some day.

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    1. Reading with an eye to craft can definitely serve your own writing, but it can make it harder to have that immersive experience.

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  8. I can relate a little bit, I used to read for the story but now, I read for the writing, for the words, so mostly, I read classics. I can't enjoy everything anymore and it's very hard getting lost in the story but it does work for the classics because it's mostly about the writing. Reading is not all about pleasure anymore, I guess, you can't have everything.
    @soultogive from https://ibreatheinemotions.wordpress.com/

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  9. Dang it--I want everything! I understand you though. There are trade-offs, always. I'm also enjoying reading classic novels. I below to a once-a-month classics book club at my library and those books (and discussions) bring me a lot of joy!

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