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Monday, September 9, 2013

No one ever told me I’d NEVER READ again! -- By Debra Elise

As you can tell by my title, I’m a little beside myself at the moment and I must confess, I’ve been lurking on the FF&P loop for the past couple months, so uh, Hi!

My current wip, and only, is a futuristic paranormal and I’m having a great time writing it, mostly. You see it has become increasingly clear that now that I’m writing seriously, as opposed to casually, I’ve become unable to read my beloved authors without having their voice throw me off my game.  Now I will confess I’ve made one exception.  I managed to finish one of Rebecca Z’s latest, but full disclosure I am a huge fan girl, plus she’s a member of our local RWA chapter (score!) and I think it’s in our by-laws or something *grin*. But I digress. My point, and I do have one, is that this has been a huge adjustment for me. Because… I’m an addict, a book addict.  Always have been, always will be.

 “Hi, my name is Deb and it’s been 53 days since my last book. I’m doing well, but some days, well let’s just say, it’s not pretty. Even the dog leaves me alone.”

In the good old days, about four months ago, as soon as I had finished one novel, I’m on to the next and the next. It was a feeding frenzy. And if I found a new author and she had any type of backlist, watch out.  My family ends up eating pizza and frozen dinners for days and the laundry piles up. Kinda like now, only different. But that’s how it is with me. Or was. I couldn’t stop reading.  Not until I decided to finally listen to the inner voice which said, “Yes you can.” Now I’ve had to rewire my brain, training myself to be patient and delay that need for instant gratification *wink* when a new Kresley Cole novel comes out.

Now like many of you, I’m guessing here, but think I’m pretty close to the mark. I think many of you, ok me, wants to be like Nora. Prolific, successful and so damn good! Isn’t she like the demi-goddess of art and literature? No? Well she should be. But as I’m now a self-proclaimed ‘serious’ writer, I must follow my heart and my muse. Nora’s latest releases are as we speak languishing in the nether world otherwise known as eBook purgatory. Sssh, don’t tell her. I think by now I must have 20, okay closer to 30, books waiting to be accessed nightly on my Kindle only to be forsaken for my wip.  Don’t get me wrong though, I am loving this new journey I’ve chosen. My people, I’ve found my people! However, no one warned me about the downside. I’ve been jonesing for a while now and get my thrills by reading book descriptions at Amazon and Goodreads. It’s been dangerous though. By feeding my addiction in this roundabout way, I’ve found a whole new group of authors and great books. Little gems twinkling brightly at me “read me, read me.” Some days I feel like a Valkyrie (or is it a Harpy?) entranced by the winking glare of yet another book diamond. Am I being a bit melodramatic here? Maybe. But as much as I experience great satisfaction (so cool) from writing a scene or two, or three, I miss my book boyfriends! Doesn’t matter that it’s a self-imposed hiatus either, I’m just--sad.

So I’ve decided on a new incentive program. This may work for you or maybe everyone else has already figured it out, and I’m just late to dinner. If so, I’ll bring the wine next time. 

MY SOLUTION: Alright, here it is – write 20k, read a book, but just one. Write another 20k, read one book, etc. I promise. Also, I must do it without guilt or worry that it’s going to affect my voice. Solution found, right?  But that leads to an even bigger problem—WHICH ONE? Will it be Nora, or Rebecca? Gena or Cherry? Kresley or Larissa? J.T. or J.R or ahhh. Whom I kidding? How do I chose between all my favorites?  In the old days, I’d just read them in the order the books were released. But now I have a backlog. I’m hoping my proposed solution could be just one more incentive for me to finish my book, right? You know besides getting an agent or a contract.

Okay, so maybe my solution is not realistic. After all who am I kidding? I start reading one and that will lead to “just one more” and BAM! I’m back on the sauce. Better that I have a book orgy when my first draft is done and call it good. Hmm, I like that idea, less of a chance for cheating. But what do I know, I’m just a newbie. Wait, does a novella count?
Which of your favorite authors do you think you could hold off reading when they release a new book, say for a week? Or, “No way Deb, you’re crazy!”

Thanks for reading.  I’d love to hear your comments!

BIO: I am a stay at home wife and mother, married to the super supportive Master Chief and momma to the Rooster and BubbaBoy. Two monkeys who keep me on my toes--hourly. We have a chocolate lab named Bell who follows me around the house begging for treats. In my previous life, in no particular order, I was a telephone operator, optometrist assistant, receptionist, executive assistant, ice cream scooper and bar maid (not a waitress, but an actual maid who cleaned a bar - very glam). I love coffee and reality TV. The latter reinforces how good a life I do have.

You can find me on:

  • Twitter: Debra_Elise
  • Website: Debraelise.com
  • Goodreads: Debra Elise


Stacy McKitrick said...

I could not go 53 days without reading! No way! But I know what you mean. My reading has been reduced since I started writing.

However, I try to write every day and read every day. Mostly I read during my lunch break and for only about an hour, but it's enough. I also carry the book with me everywhere because I might just get stuck waiting for someone and have the time to kill.

And road trips? I read better in the car than I can write.

I've never felt reading has changed my voice. If anything, I learn from my reading. I learn how to write BETTER.

I wish you luck in cramming that reading in, however you do it!

www.debraelise.com said...

Thanks Stacy! It gives me hope that other writers are able to accomplish both!

Dawn Chandler said...

I read everyday and I write everyday. For me it is not an either or thing. I write when the muse hits me and when I have time to sit at the computer. I am a full time author with one novel published and three more to be released next year. I take the time to read and have never thought it affected my voice. I take books with me and read when riding in the car, and when waiting for appointments. I think writing gives me a way to relax, a way for my muse to calm itself. I have 50 books started in the computer at some level of completion or another, so when my characters begin clambering too much for attention and I can not focus on one book I set them aside and go read. It usually makes things easier when I come back to the computer. I think reading is essential to my creative juices even though what I read is usually not even in the same genre as what I write and my writing style is nothing like my favorite author.

Tana said...

For me, it's not about affecting my voice, it's about getting lost in the book and not wanting to write. But since I've committed to a minimum daily word count before I can sleep (which always turns into more words) I feel OK about reading a little more.

Shelley Martin said...

I've been there before, the book diet... Yeah. The good thing is I can usually read a book in a day. Sometimes two. The problem is if I find a series, like when I discovered Kresley Cole. That was like 15 books I read back to back. Then I take a break and buckle down on the word count :)

Asa Maria Bradley said...

Awesome head shot! The only way I can read while I'm also writing, without the book throwing my voice off, is to read out of genre. So, if I'm working on paranormal, I'll read contemporary or historical. This seems to work for me.

Welcome to FF&P!

AGannaway said...

Great article Deb! I also miss the days of being able to cruise through thousands of pages of beautiful words. Going on a mental journey with my new found friends, and enemies with all the emotional baggage.

Now I have to make up my own, but they seem to carve out their own path so it's still fun. I just hate when they get stuck and I have to figure out how to get them moving again.

Cathryn Cade said...


The good news is that first, you'll settle into a rhythm after a while, of writing, reading, re-writing and then more reading.

Second, you already have a writing style of your own, a good one. Other authors' voice may influence yours, but they won't overtake it.

And it sounds as if you have a good idea of work and reward. Now to stick to it, right? I still struggle with that - a new book by a favorite author is like crack!

Cathryn Cade

Isabella Norse said...

Like you, now that I am making my writing a priority I have less time to read. However, I always have a book with me and I read during my lunch period at my day job - and any other chance that I get. I don't have a problem with reading impacting my voice, just my time!

Good luck with finding a way to include reading in your schedule and welcome to FF&P!

Debra Elise said...

Thanks for all the great comments! I cant imagine going much longer without reading one of my favorite authors. LOL Cathryn I so agree, crack is the perfect analogy :)