Tag Archives: TBR

How to Enjoy Reading as a Writer (And Complete Those Reading Goals)

21 Jun

It’s summertime, which means beach reads are among us. Not to mention the fact that we’re halfway through 2021. (Eek!) How far along are you on your reading goals? I aim to read 52 books a year. I’m definitely not there yet. But I know a lot of us take this time of the year to catch up on our TBR pile, so I wanted to chat about books from the writer’s perspective. 

As Stephen King once said, “If you don’t have the time to read, you don’t have the time or the tools to write.” It’s a very popular writing advice quote that most writers have probably heard here and there. I tend to agree with it. Reading is an important step of becoming a writer. But what happens when you don’t enjoy reading anymore? What if reading starts to feel like a chore? 

More often than not, I hear three reading issues from writers:

  • I can’t read while I’m writing. I fear accidentally taking those author’s words and using them myself in my current WIP. 
  • I don’t have enough time to read and write. My schedule doesn’t allow me to sit down and do both, so I have to skip the reading part. 
  • I don’t enjoy reading anymore. All I do is compare my work to theirs and/or I see tropes/mistakes/what’s coming rather than enjoy the moment.  

Sound like you? I’ve certainly been here before. The one that bit me the hardest was the last one. I used to get in such a writing headspace that I felt like I was studying every book I was reading rather than sitting back and enjoying the story. Eventually, I realized that I had to consciously set aside my writing brain and invite my reading one in. But more on that below! 

Combining reading with a beautiful place doesn’t hurt either!

If you’re the kind of writer that struggles with reading, here’s some quick tips:

  • Try reading in a different medium: I love audiobooks. They are absolutely perfect when it comes to my schedule, because I can read while driving, cooking, or doing other chores. They also give me a chance to rest my eyes and hands, which often get sore between my day job and writing. I’ve personally found audiobooks to help with separating reading from writing. My writing brain is easier to turn off when I’m listening to an audiobook because I don’t write in that same format. This required some lifestyle adjustments, though. In fact, I deleted all writing advice podcasts from my phone, so that I would stop associating audio with advice. Audio is now solely a place for joy—not advice—and making sure I honor that has helped my brain stay in that happy place for longer. 
  • Try reading a genre or age category that you don’t write: This is a good fit for those of you who fear accidentally taking something from a book you’re currently reading and putting it into your own words. If you’re reading a different genre/age category, it will feel more separated than if you’re reading something along similar lines. It may also help with the comparison bug. (It’s harder to compare your work to someone else’s when they are so vastly different.) 
  • Embrace how you’re feeling: What you’re feeling is perfectly normal. I find the writers who fight these feelings are the writers who struggle with it the most. I know, because I was one of these people for a long time. I often had to find ways to beat back the comparison bug. For instance, whenever I was reading something amazing and I started to think “I’ll never be able to write like this”, I would immediately flip to the back of the book. There, I would read the Acknowledgements page and read the growing list of people who helped that author get their story to where it is today. This was a factual reminder that my WIP was still a WIP; this book was a story dozens of people had helped shape. Seeing that almost always made me feel better. So yes, embrace what you’re feeling. Ask yourself why. Then tackle it. Once you do, you’ll find a solution. 

There are lots of ways to tackle reading and bring back the joy if you’re struggling. For instance, if I read something I admired—be it a trope, scene, or even a word—I would write it down. That way, I was acknowledging something my writer brain loved, but also took a note to deal with it on another day. At the end of reading, I’ll come back and analyze it.

It may take some experimenting, and you may experience hiccups along the way, but never give up on your love for reading. So many of us started writing because of reading. In fact, if you remember those old favorites that inspired you, I would encourage you to pick them up again. Enjoy that experience again. Remind yourself why you love the written word, and I’m sure you’ll be reading again in no time!

Do you have any reading tricks or tips? Feel free to share them with me! 

~SAT

P.S. Wednesday, June 23 is my 30th birthday! Where has time gone?!

#WW Stopping Guest Posts & New Line-Up

23 Sep

Since January of this year, I’ve featured a guest writer every Monday. I was hoping to continue this tradition for at least a year, but with the Christmas season approaching, I’ve been denying articles more than accepting articles (due to the submitted articles mainly being advertisements). That being said, I’ve been very fortunate that so many fantastic and talented writers wanted to write for www.ShannonAThompson.com, and I’ve enjoyed every article shared. I am undeniably grateful that I have been able to meet more writers, speak with them, and share their work. It has been one of my favorite parts of this past year, here on the blogosphere. So, first, a HUGE thank you goes out to all the guest bloggers I’ve featured this past year.

Now, the time has come for a change.

change

I’ve been thinking long and hard about what to turn Monday slots into, and I’ve only recently come to a decision. Next week will be my three-year blogging anniversary. (What? Can you believe it?) This means I have HUNDREDS of blog posts that many of you—especially newer subscribers—have probably never read or seen. In fact, many of my most popular blog posts to this day were posted in 2012, and when readers ask a certain writing question, I almost always have an old article I wrote that I could send them. These pieces mainly include writing tips and marketing tips, so I thought it would be fun to rewrite these posts, update them with new information (and tips), and share them on Mondays. So, if you have an old favorite and you want to hear an updated version, let me know in the comments below. I’ll even tag you as the reader who suggested it.

I hope you’ll enjoy these posts when they start. I am already organizing it now, and I’m looking forward to the change. Of course, I’ll make another announcement when it gets closer, but until then, I am accepting a few more guest posts for October/November, so if you want to be a guest blogger, now is the time to submit at shannonathompson@aol.com. I accept original posts about reading and writing, and you do not have to be published to submit. Best case scenario, if I have enough guest bloggers, I might even continue guest posts and rotate them with revamped posts.

Another option is just having a weekly post where I talk about what movies I’m watching, what music I’m listening to, and what I’m reading, but I figure I sort of do that on Facebook anyway. 🙂

Let me know your thoughts!

~SAT

All three books in The Timely Death Trilogy are now available! The first book is even up for free. For those of you waiting for the paperback of Death Before Daylight, don’t panic! It releases on October 19. Speaking of October 19, you can expect my newsletter to go out then and from now on every month on the 19th.

Teaser from Death Before Daylight shared yesterday

Teaser from Death Before Daylight shared yesterday

On October 21, you can come see me at Headrush Coffee and Tea Roasters in Kansas City, Missouri for a paranormal talk and book signing.  It will be tons of fun!

Minutes Before Sunset: book 1

AmazonBarnes & NobleiBooksKoboGoodreads

Seconds Before Sunrise: book 2

 AmazonBarnes & NobleiBooksKoboGoodreads

Death Before Daylight: book 3

 AmazonBarnes & NobleiBooksKoboGoodreads

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