Wednesday, January 22, 2014

When reading goals conflict with writing goals

I am addicted to reading. I always have been. When I was a kid, it wasn't uncommon for me to lay near my open bedroom door, trying to read by the hallway light that was on to combat my little brother's fear. I read nearly every Sweet Valley Twins/High/University, Babysitter's Club, Boxcar Children, etc book I could get my hands on. I had shelves on one wall that were filled to capacity, and I frequently succeeded in summer reading challenges at my local library. Once I get started on a book, I have trouble putting it down. At age 18, my favorite books were Les Miserables (the unabridged version), Demian, and anything by V.C. Andrews (quite the contrast, I know).

However, once I entered college, my ability to read for pleasure was cut drastically. I was working full time and had upwards of 3 job (1 full time, and 2 part time) to pay for my bills (rent, utilities, internet, car stuff, and eventually a cell phone) and food- usually take out because I couldn't cook to save my life! I can count on one hand how many books I read between 2000 and 2008 that weren't for a class. Not to say that I didn't read anything great. I was able to read "The Swimmer", a short story by John Cheever that inspired me in a way I never thought possible. If you haven't read it, do yourself a favor- because it's awe-inspiring. It reminds you of how life can pass you by if you aren't paying attention.

Once I was finished with school (my graduation was delayed because of a major change, a chronic illness and a difficult pregnancy), I had work and a family that always kept me too busy to notice that I hadn't picked up a book again. That was until one morning in January 2011, when I woke up in so much pain I couldn't move on my own. I ended up on short term disability for three solid months of doctors, pain meds, and testing. After awhile, I got sick of the four walls of my bedroom and picked up a copy of my 10 year old daughter's 'Pandora Gets Jealous' out of shear boredom. I finished it in less than 24 hours and moved on to the other 5 in her library while I rediscovered something that was previously lost.

Through the rest of the year, I found my way back to the library and picked up where I'd left off when I was 18- only now, I was 30. I wish it hadn't taken me 12 years to remember that reading is awesome...but it did. That Christmas, I received my best gift in recent years: my kindle, and my life changed again.

I've always been a writer, whether it's grants or articles for my job, journaling for myself or writing stories just because. I have notebook upon notebook with story stems all over my house, and probably in boxes in my parents' garage, too. Something amazing started to happen as I rediscovered my love of reading, my brain was suddenly flooded with dialogue and characters and stories that were begging to get out.

'Love, but Never' is a book that I'd written 5000 words of in 2007 and put aside. Yet, as I read, more and more of the story found its way to a word document on my computer until in May 2012, I'd finished 73k words and wrote 'The End.' The whole thing was completely and totally surreal to me. I never thought that I was 'finish a novel' girl, nor did I know that it was a goal I'd always had in the back of my head.

Here it is, a year and a half after completing my first draft of my first novel, having completed 3 full length novels, and 4 novellas wondering how it is that I ended up here... I'm so grateful for all the support I've received as I continue in this writing endeavor. I wouldn't be here without the support of my husband, family, friends, betas and bloggers.

I'm still trying to learn the balance between taking care of my family, working full-time, reading as much as I want to and writing. I'm, currently, working on 2 manuscripts (Never Ever After and Anton's book) and hope to have them out before mid-year. I'm always looking for more beta readers so if you ever get an itch, just send me an email and I'm happy to send you whatever I'm working on at the moment.

What is your reader story? Have you always been a reader? What type of books do you like? Have you always been a romance fan? I'd love to hear it!

No comments:

Post a Comment