How Reading Helps my Writing
Recently I’ve noticed I’ve been finding it more and more difficult to write. I am on my third book of a series I’m writing about Detective Tadhg Sullivan. Up until now my writing has flowed along at a fairly steady pace. Yet this summer, which is normally my best time for writing, due to the fact that I am in third level education I have noticed my ability to write wane. Initially I panicked thinking that the pool of imagination which drives my stories had dried up. Then one night after giving up on trying to write a new chapter in my latest book, I went down to the bookshelf in my living room and picked out a book I thought I might enjoy. I was only a few pages into it when I found I couldn’t read another word.
Was the same fatigue that was affecting my writing now affecting my reading as well?
Panic gripped me! Here were two of the things I loved doing, starting to feel like they were becoming a chore. What could I do to get out of this rut? I went back to the bookshelf and took out another book, this time in the same genre in which I write. The book was “Headhunters” by Jo Nesbo. Initially I found it hard to get into but I persevered. And like with my writing my perseverance was rewarded. The book began to grip me. I’ll be forever grateful to Jo Nesbo for writing this book, as shortly afterwards I began to write fluidly again. My enthusiasm returned and as with Nesbo’s book my writing began to speed up, as I was eager to find out what was going to happen next. These are the moments when I know my writing is going in the right direction, when I am feeling excited about the direction the book is taking.
For me, writing is not a formula. It is not something that I can always plot and steer in the direction I would like it to go. Instead the characters often take on a life of their own and I just go with them. Tadhg Sullivan is one of those characters who will always do his own thing and forces me as his creator to travel the road that he chooses.