Monday, March 26, 2012

Romance Withdrawal

So many books, so little time… This used to be my mantra as a reader. I read a wide variety of romance sub-genres and even some non-fiction, along with magazines when I felt like buying them. I couldn't get enough of reading, even going so far as to teach myself to hold a book while I was nursing Little Man. After all, if I was gonna have to sit there for 40 minutes several times a day (mine were both slow nursers), I might as well do something for myself while I'm at it, right?

But now… Well, its gotten much harder for me to read as I've grown as a writer. My time is extremely limited at this stage of my life, as I'm sure many of you can relate to (what do people do after work when they aren't scraping out time to write?!?!). As a result, I give up on books much quicker than I did before. I used to push through until the book became really interesting, but now, you'd better hook me in some way during the first chapter, or I'm outta there. Knowledge of writing techniques has made me extremely judgmental (I'll be the first to admit it). With the wealth of online resources, freelance editors, etc., there is no excuse for multiple grammatical or spelling errors.

And I find that a lot of storylines don't appeal to me anymore – for instance, I'm SO not a fan of the bitchy heroine. She seems to be everywhere these days. Strong – yes. Kickass – sure. Bitchy and critical of everyone around her – not so much! It’s a fine line that I'm pickier about that most people. Plus I can't read anything like what I'm plotting or writing at the moment, because I don't want to be unconsciously influenced by it. Sigh.

And the biggest issue? When I do find a really good book, I don't want to stop reading it. I know it may not seem like it, but that is a problem. I feel like I should be writing during that time, rather than reading. During the week, it can take me a couple of evenings to read a single title length, even though I'm a fast reader. After all, dinner has to be cooked and I've often got chores, children to pay attention to, etc., before I fall asleep just from sitting still. Weekends too.

I still read the occasional magazine (usually during dinner or right before bed), and I pick up anthologies once in a while. But I miss the depth of single title length books. So what's a former romance addict to do?

Right now I'm using really good books as a reward for getting large chunks of writing done. I've just spent 3 long months doing a complete rewrite of a previous book, and I've decided there will be no more writing until I finish the 2 books I just bought. One is from an author that I've read before and loved. One is a new to me author, but I read a few of the first pages just to check if I liked her voice – I already knew I liked the story idea.

I'm going to give my brain a few days to recover and rejuvenate (something I affectionately call refilling the well), and hopefully indulge my romance addiction at the same time! If you're a writer, do you find yourself having these same issues? What about you readers? How do you make time for your favorite addiction? :)


PS. Today is stop 4 on Andrea's blog tour. Pop in to read her call story and comment on expecting the unexpected to get another entry for her sea glass locket!


Maria Mohan said...

All I know is I've got this huge TBR pile full of all sorts of books and I'm getting through it ever so slowly.

Andrea Laurence AKA Smarty Pants said...

It's horrible but I almost never read anymore. Unless I totally get sucked into a series, or I have to read, like my RITA entries, I just don't. And I want to. But who has time? If I get an hour of peace, I'm going to take a nap or catch up on my DVR.

I also find I'm getting very picky and hard to please. I don't read in my genre because I don't want to be influenced as well, but if you ask me what my favorite genre is anymore, I can't really tell you. I used to love historicals. I used to love paranormals. I guess what really calls to me now are characters, so if I do read something, its off a glowing recommendation.

Kira Sinclair - AKA Instigator said...

I go through spurts of reading - usually when I'm in between writing projects. At the moment I've got 2 books I'm dying to read that I'm using as incentive to get my butt in gear and finisy my daily pages. :-)


catslady said...

Less sleep lol. I love to read in bed at night and have been known to go into the early morning hours. Luckily I only have to get up really early once or twice a week.

Playground Monitor said...

I realized a while back that my writing had become weaker because I hadn't read enough. So I put the writing on the back burner for a bit and read more. Now I'm writing some again and balancing it with reading.