Blog Hopping, a different kind of block.

Welcome to another BlogHop, with #OpenBook. Here’s this week’s prompt.

We’ve talked about writer’s block. Have you ever gotten reader’s block?

To be a writer, you have to love reading and read a lot. Not just before you write, but during the process as well. There are two reasons, it helps you to see what others are writing and how they’re writing it, it also clears your mind if you’re getting bogged down.

In the same way that I write more than one story at a time, I will very often be reading several books simultaneously, reading a few pages of each before swapping over.

I’ve always had a short attention span, I think that this continual grazing helps me to keep my brain active and stop me getting too bored. Strangely, I seem able to keep track of everything without too much trouble. It probably saves me from reader’s block too, as I change book before it sets in.

I’ve always read like that, right back as far as I can remember. It used to attract a lot of negative comments from teachers, but then, I was used to that. Everything I did at school seemed to attract negative comments, I was told that I couldn’t possibly do a lot of things. That’s another story, as they say.

Personally, although I write speculative fiction,

I tend to read just about anything. Up to and including the labels on cereal packets.  It might surprise you to learn that you can pick up a lot of useful writing information there. The text is designed to entice you, impart information in easy to read short sentences. Ultimately, it’s designed to make you buy. Just like a blurb, or an action sequence really. Study the way the information is presented and you’ll see what I mean. The style can be copied to give your book descriptions urgency and make your action stand out.

Looks like I’ve gone off-topic again. Returning to the subject, as well as Sci-fi and Steampunk, I also enjoy reading something that’s completely different. A genre swap can refresh a jaded imagination, take your mind off a block and even suggest a new way of looking at what you’re trying to say.

My wife reckons that you need to read a book that resets your brain every now and then. A title that you might never have considered from a genre or author that you’ve never tried before. Or a humorous book if you’re read a run of serious ones, escapism after dark adventure; you get the idea.

Like most of her ideas, it works. I guess it’s just a similar way to one of the solutions to writer’s block, which is to try writing about something different.

As if I didn’t have enough things to read,

there are the research books, websites, magazines and all the other sources that I use to make my worlds as realistic as possible. Creating a believable future, or an alternative now takes a lot of effort. In fact, I’ve written a textbook about world-building, in an effort to try and stop people making all the mistakes that it would have been good to avoid.

When you’re researching, you have to be prepared to spend a lot of time reading about a subject that might only occupy a page or two of your novel; just to enable you to write with authenticity. That’s a prime place to get reader’s block, especially as you HAVE to do it. I’ve always found that having to do something makes it harder. Mind you, once you develop the tenacity to wade through obscure technical journals for the facts that bring your world to life, you need a bit of light entertainment afterwards, as a reward.

What do you think? I’d love to get your thoughts.

Please leave a comment below. I’ll be back on Thursday with another Indie Showcase. Feel free to have a look around my website; then check out the rest of the great blogs on this hop.

6 Responses

  1. Stevie Turner

    Well done for being able to write and read more than one story at a time. I can only concentrate on writing and reading one story, otherwise I’d get all the characters and plots mixed up!

    • Richard Dee

      Thanks for commenting. It’s a mixed blessing but one I’ve grown used to over the years.

  2. Lela Markham

    Although I write more than one story at a time, and sometimes I’m reading more than one non-fiction book at a time, I tend to focus on one fictional story at a time. I just need to get into the story and that’s the way that works best for me.

    Again with the psychiatrists (but we write what we know, right?) – men tend to be more “ADD” than women and one reason men tend not to read fiction as much as women do (again according to a psychiatrist) has to do with that need to change subjects often. Men are much more easily bored than women. It’s why boys (at least here in the States) are sent for screening for ADD far more than girls. Our schools really aren’t built for them because most teachers and administrators are women and “we” don’t get the male need to move — or at least read several books at a time.

    I don’t think there’s anything wrong with a constantly shifting focus IF it works for YOU.

    • Richard Dee

      That’s interesting to know, I think teachers got annoyed with me because the more they told me I couldn’t, the more I proved to them that I could.

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