Becoming a writer kills reading

If I had realized a year ago, before I started this, how profoundly trying to become a writer would affect my ability to enjoy books, I might have thought twice about starting down this path.  (I would’ve probably still done it, but it would’ve been nice to know.)

So, for anyone who is contemplating becoming a writer, know that you will never look at some of your favorite authors the same again.  And know that you may never be able to appreciate someone else’s favorite author the way that they do.

There were always books that I didn’t really enjoy.  I remember a few years ago my mom gave me one of her romance books to read because she thought it was a science fiction book.  I had to tell her that just because the man the woman has sex with on the kitchen table is supposedly an alien (he crash landed his spaceship in her backyard but is human in all other aspects) doesn’t really make it my kind of book, but thanks anyway.

And there’ve always been writers I had previously enjoyed who took a different direction and lost me.  (No need to name names.  We’ve all been there.)

But there’s definitely been a significant change in my reading enjoyment in the last nine months or so.  The last book I read (that I FINALLY finished, thankfully – all 630 pages of it) was a new-to-me author who had been highly recommended on one forum or another.  The plot itself was interesting, but the book just dragged.  (And I had to finish it, because I knew my brain was going to keep developing alternate endings until I did.)

I think, unfortunately, that my “writer brain” gets triggered more often now than before.  So, if the start of a book is slow or there’s too much repetition or a random shift in viewpoint in the middle of a paragraph, my “writer brain” kicks in and starts analyzing everything.  And once triggered, it’s very hard to shut down.

I was reminded of this whole issue yesterday when my accountant recommended a series of books to me that are the “best books he’s ever read.”  I’ll probably pick them up at the library today (a necessity in a country where paperback books cost over $20 a pop), and I’m just hoping and praying that they’re well-written.  I could really use a good reading fix.

About M. H. Lee

M.H. Lee is a speculative fiction writer currently residing in Colorado whose stories are sometimes dark, sometimes funny, sometimes darkly funny, but hopefully always thought-provoking and entertaining.
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