Recently, I was forced to take some time off from writing due to having to work away for a couple of weeks. I mean, I could probably dragged my laptop with me through the wilderness, but it was just too much hassle, so I decided to consider it a well deserved break. Instead, I loaded my phone full of awesome books I’ve had on my writing list for ages and planned to just read, read, read.
It, was, amazing! First of all, the fact that I didn’t have a choice, made it real easy to not feel guilty about not writing. And having time to just read every evening, uninterrupted for hours, getting through books I’ve had my eye on for a while… I don’t even know how to explain it. I wished someone could pay me just to read.
Anyway, I noticed a few things happening. Reading several books back to back like that, in a short time frame gave me a different kind of perspective. I know a lot of people say they don’t read when they write because they’re scared of changing their voice or copying other authors or whatever, and I really don’t feel like that at all. I consider reading when writing essential, because it’s all inspiration, motivation, and how you learn. I’m not worried that I’ll copy someone because I just don’t think I could (even if I tried), but I can learn from them, I can note down hints and tricks to use in my own writing, get ideas for future projects.
And the more I read (8 or 9 books in total), the more notes I started taking. Some for my current WIP, some for my next one, and some for future projects I haven’t even started. It felt like I was doing an intensive crash-course in secret writing tricks. It was great.
Before I left, I was a bit worried about not writing for two weeks. Worried about the lack of progress, worried about losing my mojo, falling out of my habits or whatever. But now that I’m back, I feel like I’ve just come back stronger, with more ideas, more want to write, more love for the art.
Taking some time to just read for a few days, even a few weeks, has been gold to me. I highly suggest you take out a prescription, twice yearly, at the least.