by Teri Terry
A few days ago I posted this on Facebook:
I don't get writer's block as such - but I do get reader's block. This is much worse! Every now and then, I don't want to read anything I have (and I have a mountainous TBR) but I'm just craving....I don't know what. I want a book to grab my hands and pull me in, but not leave me feeling battered during or after. Everything I pick up I put down again.And I wondered: is this a common writer's complaint? Judging by the number of comments left in quick succession, it is.
|The horrors of Reader's Block|
"Related to Writer's Block, this is when you cannot, for the life of you, pick up a book and read it. Sure, you may be able to read a paragraph or two, or maybe even a page, but you don't retain anything of what you just read or have the attention span and/or will to go on... To those who love to read, this is worse than heart disease and cancer combined." Urban Dictionary
|The high cost of education...|
Now that I'm a writer this reading melancholy comes and goes at irregular intervals, and it hurts. With me, it is much like writing: if I'm not writing, I'm miserable. If I'm not reading, I'm miserable. I need both in my life. But is this a bit like bigamy?
Can reading and writing co-exist? Can you have two loves in your life at the very same time?I can't say I always know why I get Reader's Block. But here are some of the suspects:
1. Everything is too good: sometimes, it is really hard to read a well written book with excellent characterisation and a perfectly paced plot. Is it...envy? despair?
2. Everything is too bad: have you had a day like this? When you pick up the latest popular something-or-other, and don't like it, pick holes in it, wonder how it ever got published. Is it...envy? despair?
3. Hunting for rainbows:
|yellow, or blue, or pink....|
4. Too much of a good (dark) thing:
|Hiding from the monsters|
5. The right book at the right time: occasionally I get this impatient searching feeling, that if only I could find the right book, all would be fine. Then I post endless FaceTwit appeals for recommendations to my long-suffering friends.
|Me, on too much writing...|
Just now I think this the crux of it. I'm exhausted from writing, from being in another world in my head. There isn't any room to invite more in. If I'm writing at a reasonable pace, sometimes I seem to juggle both okay (though try to read stuff that is nothing like I'm writing, and that is usually with writing on weekdays and reading on weekends).
But when I'm writing obsessively, like I am now....no. As much as I long to get lost in a book, I just can't.
Help!!!! Are you a fellow sufferer? Do you know the cure to Reader's Block? Do you know the exact right book* to sort me out?*neither too good nor too bad and not too dark or too light and leaves the reader with the right uplifting sweetness-and-light sort of feeling but not sickly sweet: you know the one...
Or maybe, I should just give up...maybe it isn't possible to read and write at the same time, and do both well. Are they mutually exclusive? As Annie Dalton said on Facebook: is it like trying to breathe out and in at the same time?I may not have answered all my questions, but at least I got to highlight a satisfying amount of text in yellow.