I started reading a book two weeks ago, Justin Cronin’s The Passage. It’s the first book I’ve read in several months. Unusual for me, as I’ve usually managed to read a book every two weeks for the past couple years. Truth is, I’ve been too focused on my own words to allow someone else to take up my free time. I realise now that has been a considerable mistake.
You see the advice everywhere; If you want to be a writer, you need to read. I’ve taken this to heart in the past, but I don’t think the truth of it has impacted me until this past week.
First off, let me say The Passage is quickly becoming one of my favourite books. I’m about 200 pages from the end, and the first 500+ pages have been incredible. It’s been inspiring reading this book, following its twists and turns, watching how relationships have been built and how shifting point of view helps to build the tension and add substance to the world.
Which is exactly what I needed, because The Veil had become stagnant. I’ve had that little work in progress at a standstill for several weeks; partly due to family things, mainly because I just didn’t feel excited about it. I wondered how I would fill the pages. Now I’ve had a number of ideas. The structure is making more sense to me. I’ve seen how I can use and develop other characters in a manner that will not only deepen the world I’ve created, but also the story in general. All because I decided to take a break and read something else.
Learning by doing is often my preferred manner of doing things. But in this case, learning by having an example is doing wonders.
So if you’re like me, writing but feeling like you’re getting nowhere, watching as pages fill, but being overwhelmed by how many more remain, take a break. Stop. Read a good book.