I’m knee deep in this current book and am having so much fun with the creation of it I could almost just pinch myself. It’s been a long, long time since I actually enjoyed the process of writing. But what happened was the simple act of deciding to stop being a writer. I’m not a writer anymore. I’m a story-teller. And that is making all the difference in my mind, even though it’s just a semantic trick. Because when I think of myself as a story-teller I realise that the most important thing is the story and I get swept up in the telling of it. When I think of myself as a writer I start getting sidetracked by the business end of writing and then I get overwhelmed by thoughts of agents and query letters and stacks of rejection slips. That’s when my mind leaves Mothvey and Llachlan and gets stuck on a blank page.
But now here’s the other problem. What do I read? I can’t not read…I tried that a few years ago and me without a book is eerily similar to Popeye without spinach. Nothing works if I haven’t got at least one thing to read. However I can’t read too closely to when I write nor can I read any writers with too similar a voice lest I find myself all of a sudden sounding like them next time I’m at the keyboard.
What I read still informs my work, though. My unexpected return to Fantasy reading has, more than anything else I think, reinvigorated this old story by giving me the confidence to take it in the direction it was meant to go all along. The biographies I’ve delved into lately also help by showing me the motifs in other people’s lives that make for interesting tension and drama. And of course The Bible is still the best read around as far as I’m concerned. Where else could you get love stories both unrequited and fulfilled, rags-to-riches stories, hero’s journeys, descents into madness, bildungsromans about shepherds who become kings, incest, war stories and bloody murder? I mean, come on. The Bible is the grandest epic ever. And even though this book–as yet without a title–is in no way a Christian novel I’m having fun hiding all sorts of Biblical Easter Eggs (heh, a pun, kind of) throughout. No one but me will likely notice them, but I’m enjoying putting them there as a sort of inside joke.
I still don’t know for sure what to read when I’m writing. But as most of my blog entries for the last two weeks seemed to have question marks in the title there was no way I was going to put another one here.
*In case you are wondering “what’s with all the pictures lately?” I’ll tell you. WordPress has instituted a new theme for iPad users called OnSwipe. It’s not my favourite because they seem to have ripped it off from the FlipBoard people and it is very very crash-y. But if you use it you’ll see that it has a lot more emphasis on graphics. If there are no pictures on your blog the first thing an iPad reader sees is a black screen. So I’m putting pictures there so the two people who read my blog via iPad (and yes, I’m one of them) won’t be greeted by sheer dullness right away. They’ll have to read a paragraph or two before the boredom sets in.