When a Writer Stops Reading.

For years, I’ve always considered myself a bookworm. Yes, one of those people who, despite having a pile of books on their shelves just can’t resist buying more, then wonders how they’re ever going to get all that reading in. In a household of gamers, I’d rather be curled up with a good book. In more recent months, however, my reading habits have dwindled.

Usually I have bouts where I’m an avid reader, but then I feel I’ve read too much and I need to take a break. The need to read returns once again and the cycle continues. This time around, I stopped reading and am finding it difficult to return. I’m currently alternating between two non-fiction books, but it has been a slow drip feed. My bookworm status has declined.

This is the longest I have gone without having a book or Kindle in my hand, so what’s gone wrong? I think there are two things at play. One is the fact that by getting Netflix, I have been getting my stories from a different medium. I have been watching both movies and television series, along with using Netflix to help with my research. This has helped me with my own writing, both in terms of ideas and craft.

The second issue I think is that by reading less, it has given me more time to focus on other things – like writing my own stories. This of course comes with its advantages and disadvantages. I am spending more time working on my current WIP, both in the writing and the planning process, as well as making plans towards self-publishing. Yet, as a writer I should also be reading, in order to help with my craft and discovering new books within my chosen genre.

Yes, this seems like a rather long hiatus, but I know that I will return to reading eventually. Perhaps it’s because this particular story I’m currently working on really needs to be written. Besides, doesn’t absence make the heart grow fonder? 😉

Are you a bookworm? Do you have long breaks between reading books? As a writer, do you find reading can be a distraction from your own writing?

Main image courtesy of Pixabay

Finding Your Inspiration: Take a Break.

This weekend the family and I went to Jenolan Caves.  It was a combination of a birthday celebration and a bit of a break from working on NaNO.  Trouble was, I brought my laptop.

I’m sure you know where I’m coming from.  You go away for a few days with every intention of having a break from meeting a deadline, yet somehow, it keeps nagging at the back of your mind.  You end up not knowing what to do – do you write or do you ignore it, hoping that the much needed break will do you good?  I had every intention of getting some writing in, but at the end of the day, physical exhaustion won over that idea.

We managed to fit in four caves in over three days – I lost count on how many stairs we had to climb, but my feet and calf muscles are certainly feeling it.  I also lost count on how many photos I took.  I’m sure I must have annoyed the guide in the first cave we went into, so I learnt to ease off a bit after that!

Listening to the talk given by one the the guides certainly didn’t help at one point.  When discussing the history of the caves, he went on to talk about the early women explorers at the caves.  One family of women in particular had no objection to putting on the trousers.  That’s when I got my lighbulb moment.  Being a bit of a history buff, I pricked up my ears.  Now that could be something to look into, I thought.  Now, of-course, as any writer would know, there is no such thing as a holiday in this job!

Even while we were staying in the cabin, enjoying the scenery, the surrounding bushland, and how quiet it was, I was thinking of what a nice writer’s retreat it would make.  I’m not really into such things as writing retreats; all I know is a change of scene can do wonders, which is exactly what happened.  We were doing so much, I did not have time to think of the novel I was working on for NaNO, let alone any form of writing.  It was the perfect opportunity to clear my head, so that I would be ready to get back into it when I returned home.

Pushing myself to meet a deadline is important, but so is taking time out to spend time with family.  ‘All work and no play’, as the saying goes.  So now that I’m recharged, it’s full steam ahead!

Images of Jenolan Caves by Debbie Johansson.