Tuesday, November 10, 2009

What do you read when you need to write?

Sometimes when I can't seem to get my muse in working order, I stop everything I'm doing and read something I've already read.

Maybe that sounds silly. With everything I have going on, how do I have the time to reread things I've already read when there is so much to read that I haven't read yet? That's a good question. Truthfully, I don't have the time.

But it's an absolute must do.

Because reading things I've already read, that are well written and that I enjoy, help me refocus on writing as a craft that I enjoy and less as an overwhelming, difficult, disaster filled process.

Lately, that need has led me to reread the entire Psy/Changeling series by Nalini Singh. I think I could read those books a hundred times and not get enough of them. Have any of you read this series?

What do you read when you need to write?


J Hali Steele said...

I've read four of them, Rebecca, and you're right - they are wonderful!

I tend not to read when I'm working on a story, I find it distracts me from my characters. When I finish a story is when I will normally pick up a book and read it non-stop until the end.

Annie Nicholas said...

I need to read something that is in the same pov as I'm writting and the same emotional state my book is in.
I can't be writing a sad first person and read a happy thrid person. My writing gets all screwed up. It's like trying to pat your head and rubbing your stomach at the same time.

Sandra Sookoo said...

Most of the time, I don't read while working on a project, but before embarking on a new project, I'll read books in the same genre as I'm going to write.

Serena Shay said...

Lover Eternal by J.R. Ward...I swear the thing is falling apart at the seams, but when I'm needing a push or the muse has taken a siesta, I pull this one out. The characterization calls to me, helps me focus on what my charaters are trying to say...plus, I just love Rhage and Mary's story!

LM Spangler said...

This may sound odd but I'll read whatever is in my TBR pile. The break away from my story allows me to come back to it with fresh eyes. I often end up solving whatever the hangup was in the process.


Anonymous said...

I find reading something while I'm trying to write is distracting so I watch TV instead. Usually something will jump out at me and help get my muse talking again. It's usually a word or expression that makes me say "That's it!" Then my muse takes over from there.

Sandy said...

Good question,Becca. I like to read something stronger and edgier than what I write when I have a problem.

Also, like Debbie said, TV really helps because it shows the characters reactions.

carrie said...

I always read when I'm writing...they always say read in a different genre than you're writing, but that doesn't work for me...if I'm writing rom com, I want to read it too....and then pretty soon the book is on the floor and I'm at my computer typing away!


Catherine Gayle said...

I tend to do the same thing--reread something that I know and love. I tend to pick up one of my favorite Julia Quinn books if I need a good laugh, or something by Mary Balogh if I want to get lost in the emotion. But just as often, I find that I'll pick up books I love that are not similar at all to what I write: The Lord of the Rings, To Kill a Mockingbird, A Separate Peace, etc. I read and focus on the craft of the writing, trying to figure out what specifically it is about the story or the phrasing that makes it work for me. Then I go back to my own work and try to duplicate it, only with my own voice.

Z(Aasiyah/Nolwynn) said...

I tend not to read when I'm writing in case something unconsciously filters from the reading to my writing. I usually think all books though before typing so reading when I need to get it all down can mess with that and I don't want that to happen. I can maybe watch TV series like CSI which is very far from what I usually write, it thus gives my mind a break.

But then too, I write in 'bursts' during the year so can afford not to read when I'm involved in writing.

I haven't read Nalini Singh's works but hearing everyone rave about it has made me curious.