Confessions From A First World Author

lookit me, i'm writing a blog post!

If you have been a writer + on the internet for any length of time, you've probably noticed a distinct clique has grown up around the concept of "writers."  Typically we're introverted, bookish, possibly nerdy folk who for some immature reason think "how to build a bomb" is funny in our search history.  Lots of people around me pin gobs of writing-related quotes on Pinterest, they scour the internet for inspirational images that kind-of-sort-of resemble characters that they may-or-may-not mean to write one day, & they read copious amounts of books.

I will be one of the first people to tell you that I think reading is almost essential to good writing, but here's the thing.

i am not a bookworm
This is true, & this is not a negative-brag post, as if I expected everyone to cheer me on in my negativity.  No, this is just a simple fact.  I have never been a fast reader, I have always been picky, & I have always been impatient.  By + large, I've always rather hated research - a source of personal dismay when I see so many of my contemporaries chasing after research like a duck on a june-bug.

For me, however, reading can be a real strain.  Not only does it take a lot to catch + hold my fancy, a book also has to go up against my inability to sit still for any length of time, lengthening the time it takes me to finish a book by ridiculous proportions.  I don't like reading for reading's sake; I like reading for the sake of the content/execution.  The number of books I read in a twelvemonth is so easy to keep track of that I've given up keeping track, because such a small number grows depressing after awhile when one is bombarded by the idea of the internet author scarfing down books by the fistful.

literary peer pressure is totally a thing

Here's a part of me which is not painted so glowy-white: I am susceptible to the self-esteem issues inadvertently imposed on me by people who can actually read at a decent pace.  This is (one reason) why I don't usually post book reviews, or even tell you what I'm reading (Old Paths by J.C. Ryle & Gone With the Wind by le duh Margaret Mitchell): because there's usually nothing to tell.  I read at a snail's pace, with all the frequency of Haley's comet coming round, & the maddening pickiness of my mother's cat who is half-starved & is too particular to eat the enormous array of options presented for her well-being. It's a wonder I actually read anything to completion, at my rate. 

the end

[there is no moral to this story. i wanted it to make you feel better about yourself if a) you happen to be like me, or b) are better than i am at reading & therefore superior.]

4 ripostes:

  1. I must confess that I feel trepidation towards research as well. (Hence my love of fantasy! Most of the research can be done within my own head!) And this year in particular has been slow for reading. During high school I read 60+ books a year...this year was half the amount. Which I'm still a little pleased about--since there's been so much else going on--but I dare not think too hard about the segment of literary society who devours hundreds of books in a year. Do they scan them? Do they ever sleep? Do they have LIVES? I don't know. At some point we have to stop comparing Goodreads goals and just READ for the love of READING. (Which includes not reading on the days we're not loving it.) Great post, Jenny! ...forgive my abundance of parentheses and lack of paragraphs... XD

  2. Well, I was always a bookworm growing up, but as I've gotten older, with less time on my hands (and more internet distractions ... wait, did I say that? I totally meant less time on my hands), I've definitely gotten pickier about my books. And I'd rather read an old, comfortable favorite many times than try out a new author whose blurb sounds like all the thousands of other blurbs. So I don't read as much as I used to.
    Also, what is this research of which you speak?