Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Does Your Leisurely Reading Affect Your Writing?


Today I have a question for you?

Are you particular about your leisurely reading?
Does it affect your writing?

Here is something I have found out about myself.
 ... I cannot write while reading certain books.

I do better with books that I think are excellent and have the same  imagination and writing style I strive for. They don't necessarily have to be the exact genre that I write, either, although a good YA fantasy is always hopping with inspiration for me!
Reasons:
*  It inspires me to write better.
*  It motivates me.
*  And I learn from it!

I have noticed that if I'm working on my WIP while reading something that doesn't fit into this description --- my writing isn't what it should be. *sigh*

How about you? Am I the only one affected by this?

42 comments:

Annalisa Crawford said...

My style - unfortunately - can be influenced by certain writers. I have to avoid Chuck Palahniuk, Margaret Atwood and Ali Smith while I'm writing, because I have examples of how their writing as affected mine!

So, no, you're not alone!

Kyra Lennon said...

LOL, I hope I'm not slowing you down! ;)

I don't think what I read influences what I write in a negative way. I find that if I read something that is particularly descriptive, it's easier for me to write descriptions, but for the most part, I manage to keep things separate. :D

Cristina said...

mm, I have no idea. Well I do know certain books do inspire me.... but if I'm reading something that's not as good or the style too different from mine, I think what happens is that I end up reading faster because I'm not dissecting what I'm reading, LOL

S.P. Bowers said...

I haven't noticed that reading affects my writing, other than if it's a really good book I read instead of sitting down a the computer.

Nick Wilford said...

No, I can read pretty much anything, I find. When I'm writing I zone into that world and get pretty insular about it. The exception is books with similar subject matter because I keep comparing the two. Reading keeps me inspired though, as long as the book's good. (And if not so much, it can help you feel better about yours ;))

Suzi said...

I have never paid attention to this. I've been in editing mode most of the summer, but when I start my new WIP this fall, I'll have to see if I notice anything.

Madeline Mora-Summonte said...

I don't find that what I read affects what I write. It does affect my attitude, though - like if I'm reading a kind of "eh" book, it might make me want to prove I can do better. Or, if I read something amazing, it will inspire me to do better, to want to do better (or make me cry and feel like I'll never be able to do as well.) :)

Dana said...

I don't know if what I'm reading affects my style, but I do know that I tend to avoid reading books in the genre that I'm writing. If I'm working on YA, I usually read everything but for some reason.

Carrie-Anne said...

I've never really read anything most people would consider leisurely. I even have brought long, serious historical novels to the beach or on the plane. My writing style has been influenced in fair part by all the historical, literary, and classic novels I've read.

Patricia T. said...

Never really thought about it, but I read every genre, although writing in PB. I always am reading MG or YA on the side. But, review all three on my blog. I like to look at styles and character development. Think it inspires me more.

Joshua said...

I don't have time to write or read lately. I wish I did have that problem.

Kim said...

Sometimes, if I'm reading something really good, I can't help but compare what I'm working on to it and it kind of sends me into a funk :)
But I have noticed that what I'm reading while I'm writing effects my work - for good or ill...

VikLit said...

Very interesting question. Certainly I am inspired for the better, if a book particularly succeeds in some way I do analyse away trying to take pointers for my own writing. But not sure if I can't write, aside from being too distracted by the book. And some books depress me, I feel all, I will never be that good and end up in a funk!

Susan Roebuck said...

Yes, I do find that reading can affect my writing. I think I might be a bit of a chameleon because when I re-read what I've written I find all kinds of styles - and even tense changes. Problem is, I often read something and think, 'I wish I could write like that' - and that's not going to happen.

Cortney Pearson said...

I'm totally affected by this too! It's why I read mostly YA, and why I like to pick books that I think are similar to mine!!!

Gina Gao said...

Well, the style that some authors write certainly affect me. This is a really interesting point that you have brought up.

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Mark Koopmans said...

I'm not too sure, either, but I do read three books at any given time.

One is always a memoir/biography

One is a thriller

One is a "beach book" (King, Grisham, Patterson, etc.)

As WIP is a memoir, I suppose I read the memoirs to get a feel for how others have approached their books, so perhaps it has influenced me - a little :)

Great question, Leigh... you got my braincells working :)

Jeff Hargett said...

Really depends on the book (or author) that I'm reading as to whether (or how) it influences me. But yes, I'm rather finicky about what I choose to read.

J.L. Campbell said...

Hi, Leigh,

I don't have a preference, but I find that reading romance/romantic suspense novels is a good way to refresh myself on what to do and what not to do. Hope you get going again soon.

Tracy Bermeo (A2Z Mommy) said...

I write all kinds of stuff- from kidlit to journalistic features for an online news site to fun flash fiction pieces for things like, oh, I don't know, blog hops. :) While I haven't found anything that impaires my ability to write, what I have noticed is that as I've been writing more (and more creatively) I'm paying more attention to what I'm reading. I'm watching for exceptional examples of voice, setting, and scene descriptions all in an effort to be a better writer. I just got some great ones from Stephen King and Gillian Flynn that are conveniently marked with post it notes so I can go back to them.

Emily R. King said...

I have a hard time writing while reading anything. I do better reading in between projects, drafts, revisions, while waiting for CP's. If I try to do both, I lose those precious moments that I have to write.

Julia Hones said...

I liked reading your post because I have the same experience. Reading has that kind of influence on my writing when I read the genre I strive to write in. And there are specific writers who have a magic inspiring effect on my style.

Lisa Regan said...

I have the EXACT same problem. Exactly. I could not have said it better.

Nicole said...

It depends. Usually, I'm not picky with my reading. As long as the book is anywhere in the fantasy genre, I'm good. Lately, though, I've found myself getting a little picky about my book choices based on whatever writing mood I'm in. :)

Lara Schiffbauer said...

My main issue is I have to read in the point of view in which I'm writing. I hoped that would end with practice, but now I'm writing in third person and it's hard after a year and a half in first person. When I write in a different POV than I'm reading, I get confused, for some reason.

Jenny Sulpizio said...

Gosh, I have to admit that I don't find enough time to read while writing...and it seems as though I am always writing. I would seriously love to do more leisurely reading-hopefully soon. :)

Rob-bear said...

As someone who reads a lot of non-fiction (and some of that pretty heavy philosophy and the like), I find it doesn't help me at all with writing fiction.

But that's what I'm accustomed to reading. Perhaps, some day, I will make the transition to reading fiction. I am not holding my breath on that, nor am I betting on it.

Susanna Leonard Hill said...

There are definitely some books that I find inspiring and that help me write better because of their style, but I find my biggest problem is that if I'm reading a really great book I DON'T write because I want to keep reading! I have to be very strict with myself about when I'm allowed to read :)

Elizabeth Seckman said...

If I read something really good (Just finished Judy Blume's "Summer Sisters") and I feel really insecure for a while and think, I can't do write like this chick...ever!! Then it challenges me to write better...to not hurry the process until things are just right.
So, yes, what I read influences how I write.

Laura Marcella said...

Bad books assure me I can write better than that! And great books inspire me to strive for the best writing I can! So I read whatever, whenever. I always have to be reading something!

Connie B. Dowell said...

If it's a good book, and one that fits well with my WIP, a little influence can be a good thing. In fact, sometimes I find myself reaching for books with a certain tone that compliments the tone of certain scenes I'm working on. It keeps me in the right mindset.

Lauren said...

I have learned that I can't write adult fiction and read midgrade. Or vice versa. The voice gets confused.

The quality--I couldn't care less. Badly written books are usually put down with a page or two anyway, so no lasting effect. I love reading really good authors, because it reminds me where I want to be (and if they affect me at all, I assume it will be in a good way!)

Lauren

Julia King said...

I read so many different types of books that it doesn't really prove to be a problem for me. I can easily separate what I'm reading from what I'm writing. I do like to analyze what I'm reading to see how I can improve my own. If I'm reading a Dan Brown book, I won't apply that style to my own writing because my audience is for YA. I do enjoy reading para books the most and that's what I like to write. I pay more attention to them. All in all reading is great and it definitely inspires my own writing in some way.

Coleen Patrick said...

Sometimes I read a book that gets me thinking about my own wip--and then I have to get my notebook! :)

Diana said...

I'm with you! There are some books that are so similar to my writing style that it inspires me and gets the words flowing. Other times, I'll be reading a book and just can't get into 'the zone' for my own writing.

Imogen Elvis said...

There are certain authors who I can't really read while I'm in the midst of writing. Rick Riordan is one of those. I always end up trying to write exactly like him. Normally I can catch it quick, but it's hilarious to see my terrible attempt at writing like him.

I also find that when I'm writing in an unfamiliar genre, for example a contemporary novel, I mustn't read fantasy. Otherwise I get this strange urge to add dragons and magic into it, which doesn't work halfway through the draft.

Lynn(e) Schmidt said...

Personally I cannot write, and read a book, at the same time. So I finish a manuscript, and while I wait before doing the first round of edits, I read. Then I do round one, send to betas, read another book. Or several depending on how quickly my betas work.

I get what you're saying. It's hard! The flow gets thrown off!

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Madeleine Maddocks said...

Interesting question. I choose books by authors i enjoy or genres I prefer mostly. If I've read something fairly harrowing like Into the Darkest Corner I'll then read something light hearted like a Marcia Willett. I don't think partic stories affect m y writing at all. I hope all improve it.

Cindy Keen Reynders said...

I try to read my friends' books, but with work and writing my own, time's short. Wish I had more time for leisure reading.

Livia said...

It sometimes affect my writing. It gets my ideas going but I never catch them in time to type them up. I've noticed the more I read blogs, particularly writing blogs, I get more ideas for my blog. I'm guessing that's a good thing :)

Adeeva Afsheen said...


Banned complain !! Complaining only causes life and mind become more severe. Enjoy the rhythm of the problems faced. No matter ga life, not a problem not learn, so enjoy it :)

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