Thursday, 9 January 2014
READ! Ye eejit.
"If you're not reading, you're not writing." Ian McDonald
The award-winning science fiction word-slinger (and fellow contributor to BELFAST NOIR) said that to me in 2006. He was kind enough to act as a writing mentor for six weeks (organised through the now disbanded Creative Writers Network) and a lot of what he said stuck with me. But the above is something I tend to forget on a regular basis. I'm hoping that the act of writing this blog post will make it easier to remember.
Sometimes I get stressed by a lack of progress in a project. I'm not a lot of fun to live with when that happens. And not much use. EVERYTHING is a drain on my time and creative energy, in my mind. Sometimes I even think, I don't have time to read, for feck's sake.
That's a mistake, every time.
For this writer, reading is motivation, inspiration and a bunch of other -ations. I feel like my voice and style is pretty much nailed down so I don't worry about aping better writers or paying too much of an homage to a favourite novel.
Also, it's part of my job now.
When I worked full-time in an office (for 14 feckin' years!) reading was something I did on my breaks. An escape from spreadsheets. Then, as time got tighter, I'd substitute a reading break for a bit of writing or internet research (AKA procrastination). Time to read became a luxury rather than a necessity. Now it's an unavoidable requirement for my PhD. My brain hasn't quite caught up with the fact that I enjoy the work that I'm doing now.
So, even if I feel like I'm slacking, I need to read every day. Which is why I've decided to track my progress on this blog. It'll keep me honest. Plus it'd be nice to know with absolute certainty how many books I read in 2014. My target this year is 100 books. Seems doable, but I'm only on book no.2. Need to get a shuffle on. So, an hour of writing then an hour of reading before lunch.
Thinking of changing my middle name to Lucky.