Friday, March 20, 2015

Reading, Creativity, and the Reality of Life

I won't lie...I totally forgot that I had to write a blog post today.

Like many writers, I have a day job. As of Monday of this week, I now have two (at least for a short period of time). I took a freelance editing job with really tight deadlines, and, while the extra money is great, the extra work (as expected) has sucked up an amazing amount of my surplus time. For the next several weeks, I don't have a life...which also means that my reading life is suffering.

Reading is so important to me. In fact, whenever someone asks me to tell them about myself, one of the first identifiers I throw out there is "READER." I hadn't thought about this until recently. I was listening to an episode of the "Reading Lives" podcast, and I heard the host ask the guest something like, "When did you start to self-identify as a reader?" It was almost shocking to hear. And then I realized that being a reader is totally part of the way I look at my identity.

And...bringing this back to the opening of my post...I think not having as much time to read right now is really making me look at the  important role reading plays in my daily life, as well as the way my creativity suffers when I don't read for pleasure.

When Sylvia Day came to our Readers' Luncheon this past year, she discussed the important role reading plays in her creative life. I am realizing the same is true for me. When I am not reading, my writing life/creative life suffers.

I realize this will be short term, but I will be so glad when I have the luxury of going back to my "routine" of having plenty of time to read, think, and create.

So what about you? What feeds your creativity? Leave a comment below and let us know!

Susan Sierra is a historical and contemporary romance writer. She loves books and old letters, adores her dog and family, and has a deep and committed love affair with coffee. She spent time as an undergraduate studying (having fun) in Mexico, went on to work for a large regional magazine as a copyeditor, and then decided that she hadn’t tortured herself enough in she went to graduate school. After many years, she walked away with a PhD and an unhealthy relationship with Charles Dickens. She hopes to complete her first full-length novel in 2015. Follow me on Twitter!!


Louisa Cornell said...

I have identified and been identified as a reader for as long as I can remember. Probably since I learned to read at age 4.

And like you, when I don't read my writing suffers.

I signed up for Goodreads' reader challenge to make certain I take the time to read every week.

I truly believe you have to refill the well in order to be able to write.

Carla Swafford said...

Books and TV help me. I'll read or see something --- it might be one sentence -- that will spark a whole scenario that had nothing to do with the source.

Reading is important to me and has been all my life. Not sure when I started to read, probably when all of the other kids did, but I remember being in trouble a lot for storytelling (lying) and not necessarily to get out a punishment. Just because I thought it sounded more interesting than the truth. My sore bottom ensured I changed my ways before becoming an adult. But all that practice came in handy for my writing. Uh, the storytelling, not the spankings. Though . . . HA!

Susan said...

Louisa, I signed up for one, too! I'm trying to stay on track! LOL!

Susan said...

LOL, Carla! Yes, movies are big inspiration triggers for me!

Cari Hislop said...

There's almost nothing like finding an author whose word flow and story telling (genre etc) all click with one's brain so you can just fall into the zone and enjoy the story. Depending on the health of my brain (when I'm poorly or not functioning well I crave literary popcorn - light reads that preferably make me laugh). I've read a lot of those the past two years, but I'm finding myself craving more complicated fiction again (though I think deep down I'm still search for my perfect Vampire - as an aside, that would make a good title ), but normally when I'm engrossed in writing fiction I crave Non-fiction (biographies, real ghost stories, book on art, Medieval history, whatever catches my curiosity. I agree with Louisa...we need to fill up the artistic well...pour in stories, art, beautiful photographs, walks in the woods. I took my first bike ride in several years the other week down to this oak wood I call The Fairy Wood. The wind was cold, but the sun was shining and it was glorious. We can't weave stories without lovely fat balls of yarn waiting in the basket! ;)

Ali Hubbard said...

I get so cranky when I can't read. That's my cranky trigger!

As for inspiration, I love newspapers. Yes, I'm still getting a daily newspaper (gah, the age showing). But, there's something tactile for the touch also spurs imagination.

I'm trying to do better with picturing my characters too. For some reason, I see all of their internal workings and much less of how they look. And that's part of storytelling too. To paint the picture. I'm going to try to use pinterest for more of that!