Although I’ve been writing most of my life, the last two years are what I consider my “serious” writing time. During this time, not only have I written seven books in that time, but I’ve taken countless workshops and put a lot of effort into improving my writing as I go.
One of the activities I think every writer should engage in is reading. Read a lot. Read different genres and styles. Read. Read. Read.
I have been a voracious reader since the moment I could understand the letters on the page. I enjoy getting lost in the people and their lives. I enjoy traveling to new places, or times, or worlds. In romance – my favorite genre – I love the journey the couple takes from meeting to that moment when they declare their love. I have been know to read 2-3 romances a week on top of whatever other books I’m reading.
However, I’m finding that the longer I work to hone my craft as a writer, the more it’s impacting my reading. I’m becoming a pickier consumer. My guess is that it’s because I spend so much time pouring over my own words with a fine-tooth comb. But I find that, more and more, different things are pulling me out of what I’m reading.
Not all of them are bad either. In the past if there was a really glaring typo I’d think “oops” but keep going. That was about it. Now things like poor character development, or sudden POV switches will pull me out of it. Or any mistakes that I know I make but am now focused on correcting. But also moments where I go, “Oh I really like how this author did that scene.” pull me out of it too.
Don’t get me wrong. I still love to read. But I now consciously have to take off the writing/editing hat when I do, rather than just sinking into the book. I’m curious if any other writers have encountered this issue. I bet that editors and agents also run into this issue. It makes it more obvious for me why they have to be so picky. But now I wonder, does it get worse the longer you’re in the business?