What an Author Reads While Writing

What An Author Reads While Writing

I know so many writers who don’t read while they’re creating, and I can’t even imagine such a thing.

I’ve learned, for better or for worse, that if I’m not reading, I’m not writing.

I can track my Goodreads logs against my daily writing goals, and see the wax and wane. The more I read, the more I write. The sheer joy of story is what drives me to the page, day in and day out. 

I’m not at all concerned that another’s voice might slip in, or an idea, a concept, a character. My voice is strong enough in my head that these things don’t happen. 

I read widely, and I read a lot, a minimum of 2–3 books a week. Right now, I’m listening to a literary novel on audio, reading a mystery novel for a blurb, reading a fantasy ebook for fun, and leafing through a cookbook. So 4 books at once, not at all unusual. In a few weeks, I’ll be transitioning to reading short stories for a project I’m working on, but I’ll still have at least one audio and one ebook going.  

I reread, too, books that I know evoke a certain sense of joy or wonder for me — Diana Gabaldon, especially. 

Do these books influence my writing? Not my voice or my story, per se, but, as an example, I was reading Gabaldon while I was writing THE IMMORTALS and that book feels lush and full to me. While I was writing LIE TO ME, I needed to give myself permission to get really dark, so I read John Connolly and Karin Slaughter. 

I also get in moods — I want big sweeping fantasy trilogies, or light, happy books. I burned myself out on crime fiction, I think, and will have to ease my way back in. I love suspense, though, unreliable narrators and stories that examine women and their place in the world. As a matter of fact, of the 40 books I’ve read so far this year, only 4 were written by men, and two of those had female leads. Nothing against my male author brethren, I'm just more into women's work right now.

Girl power, sisters and brothers… : )

Writers, do you read while you write? Same genre, different genre? And for you readers — can you read more than one book at a time?