Let’s talk about writing for a minute. Golly Gee! As if we haven’t done that before. I know I have OCD and lately I’ve suspected that there’s some ADD or ADHD lurking around. For the last few weeks when I try to write, I simply cannot sit still in my chair. And the times I can sit I end up killing time on Facebook or IHeartRadio.
I’ve had very little concentration and even less patience for myself because of it. I’ve added several books to my e-reader and to my bookshelves lately, also, and haven’t read any of them. That irritates me, too. Last Thursday I wanted to stay out of my desk chair so I would be able to sit for my in-person group meeting. So I stretched out on the bed with my e-reader and something amazing happened.
I read an entire story. Granted, it was a short story, but it turned into an appetizer. I read a second story. I was almost late grabbing a shower to get ready for my meeting.
My internet was acting up when I got home. Go figure. I fired up my e-reader and only got a few minutes before my battery petered out. So I looked at my bookshelves to see if anything grabbed my attention. What I found was an old friend. I’ve been a fan of Nora Roberts romances for a long time. My favorites are the Donovan Legacy books about a family of witches.
I stayed up until 3:30 in the morning reading. I laughed again at the familiar jokes and laughed at myself when I cried along with Morgana and Nash, even though I knew what was going to happen. But the important thing is that I stayed focused on the story and kept reading.
When I was growing up I loved to read. I read everything, even the labels on Lysol cans. If you’ve been reading me for a while you’ve heard me mention my mother. Many times I would escape into a book. Mom would fuss at me to put down my book and be sociable.
What I realized in the wee hours of the morning when I finished reading was that I no longer had to read to escape from mom or the ex-husband or anything else. I could read simply because I enjoy it. For the love of the story, the interaction of characters, to peek inside a world created from the psychosis of someone else’s fevered dreams.
Now back to the writing: You need to read to be a good writer. Reading shows you technique, style, ideas expressed in a way you may not have thought of. Sometimes you can be engrossed in the depths of a story and get smacked in the face with an idea or realization about your own story.
Sometimes you just need to clear your head of your own characters so you can see them clearly. If you’re having trouble getting words on the page and you keep trying to force it, you get frustrated. Nobody can write like that. Give yourself permission to take a break and regroup. Your characters will still be there waiting.