The Joy of Reading
By Ramona Flightner/ @ramonaflightner
My muse has been silent. While I try not to fret at her absence, I have focused my energies on learning about book marketing and web design. As I learn more about each, I am coming to like them more and more.
My muse’s vacation has allowed me to read. When she is busy nattering in my ear, waking me in the middle of the night, I do not read as much as I would like because instead of hearing her voice, I hear the voices of other writers. Thus, when I am in full writing mode, my “to be read” pile grows.
Now that she is sunning herself by a quiet mountain stream, I have devoured books. So far, I’ve read three books in three days. I know that will slow down a bit, but I am really enjoying seeing how others build worlds with words. I have read a non-fiction, a memoir, and a historical. And I have enjoyed them all. Of course, I have also read the requisite book on marketing, but that doesn’t count toward my learning more about the craft of writing.
As I read, I try to ignore the voice in my head that says, “I really like how the author did that.” Or, “that didn’t work so well there.” Or “maybe I should try something like this.” I want to read for the pleasure of reading. However, at times I find it hard to turn off my writer’s brain. I delight in a perfectly worded sentence or metaphor, setting aside the book to say the line over and over, allowing the words to flow off my tongue as I smile. I envision the nearly unimaginable hours the authors toiled over their tomes, the edits, the checking of historical facts, the nervous anticipation as they told the first person, “I wrote a book.”
Now, as a writer having written two books and working on number three, I understand what it takes to not only write, but to become an author. I know the sacrifices, especially the isolation: the parties missed, the inability to join in office talk about the latest TV shows because my head was filled with my characters rather than someone else’s, the hours alone as I typed word after word. The absolute love of my story that has allowed me to read it more times than I can count and edit it nearly as many. And yet, every sacrifice was worth it.
Soon, I will send my novel out into the world, to be read, judged, and, hopefully, shared. I hope a line in my book will cause a reader to pause as she repeats it over and over with a smile as the words roll off her tongue. For now, I will delight in the novels I am reading, appreciative of all the work entailed in creating new worlds with words.