Reading as a Writer


I stopped enjoying reading in grad school. Why? I used to read as a reader, getting sucked into the world of the book and enjoying every minute. Total relaxation. Then, I spent two years studying my craft. I quit reading the authors I used to read. I no longer enjoyed their books. I couldn’t have put my finger on it; I just didn’t. I read differently now. Every book is a lesson in craft.

I still have authors I enjoy, and I will read all their books. But now they teach me. One of my favorites has a new book out, and I couldn’t wait to get my hands on it. Have you ever picked up the wrong drink? You have an iced tea and you pick up hubby’s Coke by mistake? That OMG reaction your mouth has to that unexpected taste is what I am getting from this book. This is a good writer, but this book is driving me nuts. I want to tell my inner writer to shut up and let the reader just enjoy but…

We’ve all been told there are rules for a reason, BUT breaking them is also done for a reason. I’ve seen accomplished writers break rules and paid close attention in the hope that I could replicate that success. (still waiting) I’m a child of the sixties so I’m all about rule breaking but trying to break as many as possible in one book is too much for even a talented writer.

Some lessons a writer learns in reading are more painful than others. Such as, even our favorite writers, even those gifted in craft, make missteps. Has a favorite author ever let your inner reader down? (No names, please)

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16 Comments

Filed under The Life, Writing

16 responses to “Reading as a Writer

  1. Yeah…I read like a writer now, too. Watch movies that way, too, and can sometimes predict what’s gonna happen. Of course, my husband doesn’t like it when I do this out loud. 🙂

  2. I love being able to read as a writer. Having learned more about writing as a craft, I can read a book and better appreciate the skill that’s gone into it. Before, I’d read something and just enjoy it, but now I can enjoy it even more because I can see how the writer has made it so enjoyable; I can understand why they’re doing whatever it is that they’re doing, instead of just taking it as it is. And then I can use the techniques and skills that I see in the book as something I can learn from and maybe try myself.

    As for being disappointed by a favourite writer, it hasn’t happened to me yet (thankfully). I’m not very harsh on authors, and I like the majority of what I read :]

  3. I read like a writer, too, but I think I’m lucky. It hasn’t kept me from enjoying the books I always loved reading. There are a few authors I can’t stand reading these days because they “teach” me lessons in how NOT to write, but I didn’t like them that much before I studied writing so it’s fine by me.

  4. I love this! I also read like a writer, and actually, I have found it is the greatest cure to writers block. I would even argue that I am actively practicing my writing skills as I read.
    I have also come across a writer who let me down as a reader, especially when I started to read free publications on the Kindle. The world of editing is just not a required step for publications anymore with the new electronic medium. And I had to learn to look past glaring typos just to enjoy a story. I’m not sure it will ever NOT bother me to read a published book with multiple typos, but I’ve learned that I can still enjoying reading despite this.
    Interesting post – thank you!

    • I’m patient with new writers unless they’re lazy about the need for the editing process. Then, I want to scream. There are no short cuts if you want your work to be the best it can be.

    • I agree, reading spelling and grammar mistakes in writing really annoys me. But since taking an editing class at uni, I’ve learned that not all errors are the fault of the writer. Some typos are caused by miscommunications between editors and printers, and sometimes it’s just human error during the publication process. I once read a book where a whole line had been moved into the wrong place. At least I knew that one wasn’t the writer’s fault!

      • And the electronic medium allows for a lot of errors I’ve noticed. The most recent mystery novel by a NY Times best seller was missing lines and in some cases pages in the electronic version I purchased. Frustrating.

      • I have a copy of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire which has half a chapter missing, and is replaced by a previous chapter! Who knows, it might be a collectible in a few hundred years.

  5. I’ve managed to strike a balance. I understand what you mean; senior year of my undergraduate degree, I stopped reading entirely. Now I read for pleasure and for knowledge.

    • A balance is a great thing. Sometimes I think I’m there and then…I can’t read my favorite beach reading from pre-program. Sigh.

  6. Pingback: Writer’s Life Day 13- Steady Goes the Race « Chillers And Thrillers

  7. Pingback: Day 18- Steady Goes the Race | After Writer Dreams

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