Friday, March 15, 2013

Reading in the Cracks

I once was told to savor the time spent writing and publishing of my first book. I didn't get it, because I was so anxious to be in print, and the two years between contract and release almost killed me. Now I look back and see what the author who gave me that advice meant, because when Book One is out, everyone wants to know when there'll be another one. That first book was a leisurely experience, with all the time in the world to write it, plenty of time to promote it, and no reader expectations to rush it.

Fast forward to now, when at least one book of my three series is due at any given moment. I won't lie and say I hate hearing people ask when they'll see the next Dead Detective or Loser or Simon & Elizabeth book, but it does fill up my time. One of the things that has suffered is my reading.

Writers need to be readers. We need to feel the flow of writers better than we, and it doesn't hurt our egos to see that we're better than some, even some the world calls Best Sellers. We also need to know the market and try to fit our work somewhere between carbon copy and too far from what's selling in the real world. And we need to be reminded of what we enjoyed about reading, what made us want to write.

There were days in my youth when I read all day long. There were hours when my kids were napping where I immersed myself in a book. That doesn't happen any more, at least not very often. I did read a whole book two weeks ago, pretty much in one sitting, but we were coming home from Las Vegas, so it was on-the-plane, during-the-layover and on-the-plane again. (I got re-acquainted with John Lescroart, which was good.)

It took me weeks to get through THE THIRTEENTH TALE, even though I couldn't wait to get back to it. If a book drags at all, I give up on it these days. It simply isn't worth finding the time to read it if I'm not enjoying the world it conjures.

I have books stashed around my house like a squirrel hides nuts, each one in place in case I get a few minutes to read. I have two Kindles and an iPad that stand ready to pop a story in front of my eyes. I still WANT to read, LOVE to read, NEED to read, but there's writing, too, and there, I control what happens. I guess writing will take the biggest chunks of the rest of my life, and reading, though important, will have to fit into the cracks.

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