Reading, Writing, and… well that’s enough

As we all know, I’m editing right now. Blah blah blah. It’s stressful.

One of my favorite methods of relaxation is, of course, reading. There is nothing more wonderful than curling up with a good book. I’m part of a YA reading group on goodreads and I have three library books sitting in a pristine pile on my coffee table. Why haven’t I relieved some of my editing stress by tearing through those books?

Because I am reading-while-writing phobic.

Here are a few of my fears about reading a book while writing my book:

1) My plot will magically morph into the plot of the book I’m reading.

2) I will discover that the book I’m reading ALREADY has the EXACT SAME plot as my book.

3) My writing style will magically morph into the writing style of the book I’m reading.

4) One of my character’s names will appear, doing something totally unlike my character.

5) The book I’m reading will be so much better than the one I’m writing.

6) The book I’m reading will be so much worse than the one I’m writing. And it’s published.

7) Instead of enjoying the book, I will edit it in my head. Like I edit the book I’m writing. Like I edit every sentence I write, every sentence I speak, every sentence my husband speaks… I think you get the idea…

8) I will see a device that the author uses and envy it. Because it’s perfect for my book. But I can’t use it because that would be stealing. All I can do is sit there and stew.

I was going to give ten reasons, but I can only think of eight. But those eight are very valid. Well, valid in that “paranoid,” “kind of silly,” “invalid,” kind of way. Valid enough to keep me from reading while I write, anyway.

I just saw a blog post by Laurie Halse Anderson saying that she is reading three books as she writes her next book!

What about you? Can you read while you write?

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4 thoughts on “Reading, Writing, and… well that’s enough

  1. Ryan M. Murphy says:

    I read several books as I write one. I find that if I DON’T read while I write, I have a harder time writing. Sure, I’m influenced slightly by what I read (and there are only so many general plots out there), but I maintain my own voice and come up with my own ideas.

  2. weavinglight says:

    The beauty of storytelling is that everyone has a different way of telling them. I’m with you in the can’t read while I write brigade. I tend to find that if I really get into the book I’m reading, everything else stops, so I just write and try to concentrate on that. Good luck.

    • Laura Lee Anderson says:

      I wish I could be that confident! I think I’m on my way. I’ve discovered magazines as an alternative to novels for the whole relaxation thing. All my novels are waiting as a reward for when I’m done editing (which will be soon! Yay!).

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