Hi there, guys and dolls! Today, let’s talk about reading — or shall I say how I read now that I am a professional writer. Read along and I’ll share with you how things change for the better.
I’ve always been an avid reader, from Nancy Drew to Herodotus and practically everything and everyone in-between, but I’ve been a skimmer, a fast Evelyn Wood type of reader, gleaning and absorbing what I could at sometimes lightning speed. At that rate, I’ve sometimes missed some things along the way, but have read many volumes.
Now I’ve been writing for many years now, but as an actual published author, it’s relatively new compared to the rest of my life on the planet. Now I’m polishing up the second (tentatively titled DEATH OF A BEAUTY QUEEN) and planning a third novel in the Poppy Cove Mystery Series. There’s no blind panic to produce a finished novel, but a strong desire to complete them in a timely manner with a sense of flow and coherency. Commitment to share the plots rattling around in my brain, getting the images and scenes into words and phrases on the page. Sometimes the words just spill and flood out, other times, fingers poise on the keys, delete and redo are used more often than actual letters. As I’ve learned to think and discipline to hone and work on it further, it’s become clear how every word, character and space is so important and has meaning.
It’s given me a new reverence for how I read fellow authors’ books for knowledge and pleasure alike. I have an empathy for the writer, built into every word, every sentence. The combination and dance that happens as the story unfolds. The excited ease when a passage seems to write itself, the panic when the words don’t come, the agonizing over one adjective over the other, the lost sleep over a comma. I’ve slowed down, appreciating what they’ve written and have such a reverence for how much it means to them and to us readers for all of us to tell our tales and share that piece of our imagined worlds with others. You’re never lost when you’re in a good book, just on the journey in humanity.
So true, Barbara Jean. My own journey as a writer has also made me read more slowly and I now savor a well-placed phrase or an apt analogy.