It’s a weird balance, isn’t it? You dredge that story from the depth of your soul and, once you’re spent, stick your nose in someone else’s book. Perhaps there’s a rhythm to it, a sort of see-saw between output and input, being imaginative and having your imagination recharged.
That’s what happens when you write. You bleed onto the page, then stagger from the computer, and grab something from your To-Be-Read stack for a transfusion.
Or is it the other way around?
Either way, this has a downside: WUI — Writing Under the Influence.
Lately, I’ve been Writing Under the Influence of Lovecraft, King, and Koontz. When I read Peace Like a River, I was drunk with Enger’s lyrical, homespun whimsy for at least one project.
Maybe this really speaks to the novelist’s bogey, The One Who Must Not Be Named… writer’s block.
The best approach I’ve ever heard was from Sibella Giorella who said something to the effect that when she runs dry, when her inspirational spark burns out, she’s learned to simply pick up a good novel. Reading a chapter of To Kill a Mockingbird can do wonders for the writer whose pistons aren’t firing.
Well-written, creative stories have a way of kick-starting a sputtering imagination.
Which, at the moment, is sort of puzzling. You see, I’ve been on a non-fiction kick lately. I’m plowing forward on my WIP but, for some reason, the muse is calling me to something more linear, more concrete. It’s been quite refreshing. When my eyes glaze over writing fiction, I get re-energized reading non-fiction.
Same rhythm. Same results. Different well.
Perhaps I shouldn’t try to over-analyze this. Sure, there might be something scientific about it. You know, from narrative to didactive, from parable to lecture, from abstract to absolute. There seems to be a formula of sorts. But too many autopsies can eventually bleed one to death. Therefore, I won’t over-think this.
Just look for another non-fiction book to fire my fantasies.
So I’m interested — What do you read when you’re writing?