sacrificing the reader for the writer
Over the eight or so years I’ve been writing romance, I’ve met a few people who were readers and gave it up to become writers. No, I’m not kidding. They actually gave up reading.
One said she didn’t have time any more.
Another just abandoned a particular line she was aiming for. She’d loved reading those books before she tried to get published by that publisher. But she had to stop after she grew as she put it, “insanely jealous of published newbies I could write circles around.”
A reason that makes me nod with agreement — the fear of unintentional imitation. “I can’t read romance if I’m going to write it,” another writer explained. “I’m too afraid of unconsciously using someone else’s voice.”
In a conversation, I find myself adopting the cadences and phrases of the people I’m talking with. And I know that there are some writers who are particularly contagious. They pepper their writing with short sentences, maybe, or they have a particular sort of description they use at particular points in the story. I can see getting sucked into imitation.
But giving up reading? Oh, no. NO. Sometimes I’ll drop a genre. If I’m working on a historical, I probably won’t read other historicals for a while.
But the way I figure it, I have a list of things I’m willing to give up for writing: regular paychecks, ego (still getting those rejections, thanks), wrists, sanity.
Stories written by other people? Nope, not negotiable.