How Writing Changed the Way I Read

Today’s post comes to us from one of my favorite people on Twitter, Jennie Ivins, better known as Autumn2May. This is her perspective on how writing her own novel has altered her view of reading. Enjoy!

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Reading and writing have always gone hand in hand. One really can’t learn to write without knowing how to read. So then knowing how to write well must make reading easier, right? Well, sort of.

I started writing my book in October of last year. I had never written before and really didn’t know what to expect. After finishing my first rough draft, I discovered two things about writing. The first is that writing is just as addicting as reading and the second is that once you start writing as a serious pastime, reading is never the same again.

The whole time I was working on my first draft, I completely shunned all reading. I didn’t think I had the time and some part of me thought that if I started reading again, that my work would start sounding like whatever book I was reading. Luckily both of those things turned out to be false, but that’s another story. However, when I finally picked up a new book in January I was surprised by what I discovered. My perspective on the writing itself had changed dramatically!

Every once in a while I would notice a really good paragraph or phrasing and wonder if the author had a hard time writing it or if it was created in one of those moments where the words just flow out exactly the way you want them too. I also noticed the patterns of how the author wrote and words and phrases I could tell they used a lot. I had never noticed things like that before I started writing, and I think it made me appreciate the work itself more than I did before.

It was actually very similar to when I became a chef. I appreciated a well made meal more because I knew how easy it was to mess up and how hard it was to get it just right. I noticed each ingredient separately and noted how they mixed together to form the finished food rather than just focusing on the overall taste and whether I personally liked it or not. Reading after being a writer is very much the same. You appreciate the bits and pieces of the writing more even if the whole book isn’t really your cup of tea. It does however making reading pieces that aren’t written quite as well a bit harder. You tend to see the errors more and analyze what you might have done differently, even when you’re trying not to.

But there is also more of a sense of understanding for the author. Bad or good someone put their blood, sweat, and tears into the story and that deserves a certain amount of respect. It certainly gave me a lot more respect for anyone that can get a novel published. Putting your heart and soul into something then releasing it to be critiqued by the world is a scary proposition, whether you are a famous writer for the Big Six or just indie published your book yesterday.

Overall I think that being a writer has made me a more mature reader and given me a greater love and admiration for truly well written stories. And if you ever think you have a story in you, don’t be afraid to let it out. All stories deserve to be told.

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Jennie Ivins is a stay-at-home mom with three boys (one set of twins & one singleton) who for some reason likes living in Central New Jersey. She married a geek and enjoys watching other geeks discuss their geeky ways. In her pre-mom life, she worked as a chef’s apprentice and a retail store manager. She loves taking pictures and cooking, but her other loves include art, science, music, computers, history and anything else shiny that happens across her field of vision. She is currently writing her first series of fantasy books and enjoying it more than she thought humanly possible. However, she has found writing about herself in the third person to be a rather odd thing to have to do. If you’d like to say hi, you can usually find her on Twitter or Fantasy-Faction.com as Autumn2May. 🙂

Photos by Matt Jiggins & Glory Foods

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