Wednesday, October 3, 2018

IWSG: October and so much reading

If you're not familiar with 
the Insecure Writers Support 
Group, check it out here
When I went on a short vacation at the end of August, I hadn't planned (as usual) to have time to read, but hey, a miracle happened and I did. Yes, we covered my little three book excursion into readingland last month, but it's gotten worse. I've been sucked into an unplanned reading binge. (cue the ominous music)

I haven't done this in a while. And for good reason. All writing stops when I go into reading mode.

Lots of other things stop too, like getting enough sleep, being on time for work, keeping lunch breaks to an hour, maybe hanging out in parking lots in my car for an extra half an hour or longer when running errands... yeah, reading and I have an addictive relationship.

Book shaming time. In the past six weeks, ten days of which I was waiting for shipments of books to arrive, I've read twelve books. And not just short books, 500 to 600+ page books of small type. I even broke down and bought an e-book of one of them because I wasn't near a bookstore at the time. Darn you, J.R. Ward and your Black Dagger Brotherhood.

What makes this series so addicting? It's not your typical paranormal romance. There is a lot going on in the world in which it takes place, lots of action, so many subplots, and lots of well fleshed out POV characters beyond the usual two. Each book ends on a satisfying note, but I had to know what happened next in the greater story. Like. Right. Now. Several of these I read in a day or two. Seriously. And I work full time and have other obligations. Evil damn books! It turns out four hours of sleep is fine on occasion. And...that may or may not be four in a row. Soooooo anyway, yes, I'll be reading the rest of the series soon, but I'm at a good pausing point and I should get back to editing and writing for a little while before November hits.

What started to drive me nuts, because there's always something even when I love a book / author / series. 1. When a word like alacrity gets used a lot, it starts to stand out like sore thumb because it's not a commonly used word. 2. When technology is liberally named throughout a series (like using a Blackberry or hitting send to place a call) and quickly becomes dated.  3. When you read the first book and think certain words and phrases are awesome for characterization, but then realize everyone in the series uses those same words and it's not natural sounding or logical that they would. 4. Overuse of slang. Again, totally cool when a single character uses it because it works for characterization. Not cool when everyone is using natch at the ends of sentences. It's totally not natch.

With reading, preparing for NaNoWriMo, three author events, winterizing my pond before winter this year for a change, still looking for a home for the exchange student we didn't plan on, and getting a head start on sewing my Halloween costume before the week before Halloween... it's been a busy month. From here on out, life only gets more hectic until January. While I'm taking a deep breath and trying not to get freaked out by that last sentence, let's get to this month's Insecure Writer's Support Group question.

How do major life events affect your writing? Has writing ever helped you through something?

When I'm stressed, I don't have any energy left over for writing. I have a hard time even focusing on editing. So things like a divorce, death of friends and family, or giving birth tend to lead to dry spells of weeks or months or even a year or two. You've got to take care of yourself. The words will be there when you're head is back in the game.

Has writing helped me through anything? I guess I'm not in jail for taking my frustration out on anyone in a physical manner. There tends to be a lot of death and violence in my books. Coincidence? There's a good chance there's a connection. There is something to that whole, 'the quiet ones are the ones you have to watch out for' thing. However, I do try to keep it fictional. If you've ever been my boss, you're welcome.


  1. I am able to read on writing days--in fact, if the writing lacks energy, reading in my genre often gives me a hit of creative juice. I love your comment about "the quiet ones." My first novel involved the death of a school principal. Any resemblance to actual people was (not so very) coincidental. I wish you happy writing in October.

  2. Like you Jean, I don't have the time and energy to write when life is bad, but I do find that, during a long term, low level bad patch, I write to keep myself sane.

    Btw, my blog is Write On at Google won't let me use my WordPress profile when commenting.

  3. Hi Jean - reading certainly takes over ... and I struggle to do other things. But there's always things going on ... life is life. Good luck with all the things you've got going on - and enjoy the Autumn - cheers Hilary

  4. Love your last sentence. LOL I can't believe you're binge-reading. Okay, I can. It's like me and Grey's Anatomy on NetFlix. Sheesh. Where was I when that came on??? When life sucks, you gotta take care of yourself, protect yourself. I agree that writing will be there when you're ready. Anyway, get writing, girl.

  5. Luckily, I treat reading as a slow & steady relaxation after I'm done writing and other stuff, so it doesn't interfere. And I also like to base the occasional character on people who've roused my ire ... and finish them off in not very nice ways.

  6. After the reading binge will probably come a writing binge.
    Pop culture references become dated so quickly. Best to just avoid most of them.


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