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Posts Tagged ‘the importance of reading’

I’ve always loved to read.

If I’m waiting somewhere and I’ve forgotten a book, I’ve been known to read the back of a match stick booklet, or every single item on the menu. In high school, college and early in my working life, I’d often read a book a day. I was voracious, devouring authors across almost every genre—romance, suspense, mystery, horror, fantasy, sci-fi, historical fiction—I’d read it all. There was always a book in my hand and two or three in my backpack. When I started to drive they were tucked in the glove box, tossed in the back of the car, or sitting on the passenger seat beside me.

Back then, I couldn’t imagine a time when reading would get lost the shuffle of a busy life. I couldn’t imagine a life without reading.

This obsession with reading is what compelled me to write, to dwell in my own imagination, and bring my own worlds and characters to life. But as I sank deeper and deeper into writing, I stopped reading.
It happened so slowly I didn’t even notice.

I was working full time, with an hour commute each way. Plus, I was writing on the side. Writing brings with it a host of other time consuming activities, like critiquing, and beta reading. So I guess you could say I was reading, sometimes I even enjoyed what I read. But reading a critique partner’s work, chapter by chapter, isn’t the same as getting lost in a book. It doesn’t fill your creative well. Or at least it didn’t fill mine.

Since there are only so many hours in a day, and those hours were spent working, commuting, sleeping, writing and critiquing—reading evaporated. I literally didn’t have time to read.

I didn’t notice the affect at first. I was riding high on the drug of writing my first book and involved in several critique groups both online and local. When I realized it had been months since I’d read a book for pure enjoyment, I shrugged the realization aside. Serious writing, required serious sacrifices, I told myself. I couldn’t afford to cut back on the time I spent writing and critiquing, not if I wanted to get published. The reading, however, wasn’t necessary. I could do without the reading.

I was so naïve.

The months turned into a year. And then two and then three. I went from reading a book a day, to reading maybe a book a year. As that third year without reading bled into a fourth, my creativity dulled. Everything I read from critique partners sounded vacant, and dull. Everything I wrote felt stagnant and boring. All those exciting premises churning through my mind, tarnished. Like wisps of smoke on the wind, they blew away. All the sudden I was left with no interest and no energy for writing. There were no images, no stories, and no characters in my mind. No words demanding their time on the page. My mind felt empty. My creativity gone.

I struggled for months with this strange apathy, forcing myself to write even though the enthusiasm was gone, forcing myself to critique even though everything thing about every story irritated me. Because my critique partners’ work couldn’t pierce this mental fatigue, I didn’t think other fiction could either. Instead I turned to television and dulled my mind even further.

The only reason I started reading again was because I lost electricity one day. With no television, I had no way to occupy myself, so I picked up a book for the first time in years. The book was Vanished by T. J. McGregor and it revitalized me. I got lost in that book—lost in an imaginary world, with imaginary people. And when that ride was over, I reached for another book and took another imaginary ride. And then another. What followed was a reading glut like I hadn’t enjoyed in years. Not since I started writing.

And wonder of wonders my creativity surged. Suddenly new ideas and new characters started spinning through my mind. The words that streamed from my fingers onto the computer screen were vibrant and thrilling. My critique partners’ chapters were brilliant.

My creative well was full again.

Since then I’ve made time for reading—allowing myself a major reading glut every couple of months. And with each reading glut my creativity has soared. It was the Black Dagger Brotherhood that inspired Forged in Fire, my paranormal romantic suspense. Without that reading glut, without that inspiration, I would never have written Forged, which means I wouldn’t have been able to quit my day job in order to write full time.

So it’s fitting that my first resolution this year is to read more. At least a book a week. I have a brand new Nook Tablet and I’m filling it with books: Christy Reece’s Last Chance series, the fourth book in Maya Bank’s KGI series, and the first two books in Elisabeth Naughton’s Eternal Guardians. Susan Elizabeth Phillips, Linda Howard, Lara Adrian, Caris Roane, they are all either downloaded into my Nook or about to be downloaded.

What do you have on your Kindle or Nook or sitting on your bedside table?

About the book:

Beth Brown doesn’t believe in premonitions until she dreams a sexy stranger is gunned down during the brutal hijacking of a commercial airliner. When events in her dream start coming true, she heads to the flight’s departure gate. To her shock, she recognizes the man she’d watched die the night before.

Lieutenant Commander Zane Winters comes from a bloodline of elite warriors with psychic abilities. When Zane and two of his platoon buddies arrive at Sea-Tac Airport, he has a vision of his teammates’ corpses. Then she arrives—a leggy blonde who sets off a different kind of alarm.

As Beth teams up with Zane, they discover the hijacking is the first step in a secret cartel’s deadly global agenda and that key personnel within the FBI are compromised. To survive the forces mobilizing against them, Beth will need to open herself to a psychic connection with the sexy SEAL who claims to be her soul mate.

Forged In Fire is a smoking hot adventure with an irresistible alpha hero. Danger, action, suspense, and a steamy romance make a story that’s impossible to put down!”
–Patti O’Shea, National Bestselling Author of Through a Crimson Veil

About the author:

Trish McCallan has been writing for as long as she can remember. In grade school she wrote children’s stories, illustrating them with crayons and binding the sheets together with pencil-punched holes and red yarn. She used to sell these masterpieces at her lemonade stand for a nickel a book. Surprisingly, people actually bought them. Like, all of them. Every night she would have to write a new batch for her basket.

As she got older her interest changed to boys and horses. The focus of her literary masterpieces followed this shift. Her first full length novel was written in seventh grade and featured a girl, a horse and a boy. At the end of the book the teenage heroine rode off into the sunset . . . with the horse.

These days she sticks to romantic suspense with hot alpha heroes and roller-coaster plots. Since she is a fan of all things bizarre, paranormal elements always seem to find a way into her fiction. Her current release, Forged in Fire, was the result of a Black Dagger Brotherhood reading binge, a cold, a bottle of NyQuil and a vivid dream.

Visit her Website.

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