I’m running late with today’s post because when I arrived at work this morning, I found the entries blocked off due to a suspicious package. Thankfully it was just a box of office supplies, but the morning chaos threw me off my game. On the upside, I got to go home, make my kids an omelet, and drop them off at school before returning to work with the “all clear”. On the downside, my stress levels are high today.
It’s another Insecure Writer’s Support Group day, and I’m still an insecure writer. I wrote 20K towards Isto in January, and I only kept half of it. I checked off another chapter in my list to revise and have started over twice on the chapter I’m currently on. Things are flowing, just not at the pace I’d hoped to achieve.
As a result, I decided to let myself listen to some audiobooks. I tend to get absorbed by books so much so that I stop working on my own writing in favor of listening to them. I’d told myself I wouldn’t listen to an audiobook until I finished working on Isto. Well, I gave in, and thankfully self-discipline has won out. Instead of listening to the audiobooks on my lunch, I wrote like I was supposed to. Best of both worlds!
I started with Peace Talks by Jim Butcher and flowed straight into Battle Ground. They’re pretty much the same book, just broken into two, otherwise it’d be twice as large as the other books in the series. While listening, I asked myself, “what makes me enjoy this?” Partially the pacing. Everything is pushing ahead, moving forward, all the time. Another is the voice and the personality of the character, and how it really shines through the narration.
When I finished those two, I switched to Ready Player Two by Ernest Cline. It wasn’t a good move for me. Everything I enjoyed about Butcher’s writing wasn’t there in Cline’s. The pace slogged, the information got repeated, there was a lot of telling, and I didn’t click with the character. Though the playback time was equal to one of Butcher’s books, it took me as long to finish the one book as it did to finish both of Butcher’s books. It killed my writing momentum, making me worried that I was making the same mistakes in my work that I disliked in Cline’s.
Now I’m on to Shakespeare for Squirrels by Christopher Moore and it’s been a breath of fresh air. Well, fresh air filled with crude humor and excessive profanity, but welcomed nonetheless. Moore’s book pushes at that always-moving-forward pace. He also swaggers between wit and stupid humor in a way that makes me laugh aloud and get weird looks from my coworkers. The voice shines through the narration, ridiculous as it is, and it has once again inspired me to add some flare to my own words. I’m halfway through the book and will probably finish in the next day or so.
I won’t bother you with updates on the Colonel’s Challenge or digital painting. I have done stuff offline, but this post is long enough to bother you with my current art project.
IWSG Question of the Month – Blogging is often more than just sharing stories. It’s often the start of special friendships and relationships. Have you made any friends through the blogosphere?
Most of my online friends have been made through blogging. I love learning about other people’s lives and connecting with them, even if I never meet them face-to-face.
Can you read books while writing one of your own? Do you find other writers influence or inspire you? Have you felt dragged down because of someone else’s writing?
About Insecure Writer’s Support Group
You can find the sign up for the IWSG here. We owe Alex J Cavanaugh a huge thank you for thinking this blog hop up.
21 thoughts on “Well, Ain’t that Exciting? #IWSG”
I could use a few lol’s. Thanks for the reading tip. ‘Til next month. 🙂
Anna from elements of emaginette
Look at you, running home to make omelets for your kids. I’ve never listened to an audiobook–ever. I was actually going to write a post about that. Ready Player Two is on my TBR list but it was one I was unsure about. Going to look up Shakespeare for Squirrels. 🙂
Totally agree on the blogging question. 100% (As an aside, how long have I been talking about joining IWSG, FFS? Perhaps this year, I’ll actually do it. When are the questions listed? I follow the site but never seem to catch the question on time.)
Oops. Just caught your link to the sign-up. Off I go…
Obviously those audio books taught you a lot about pacing. That will help you finish and polish yours.
Holy Moly! What a morning!
I like Butcher’s pacing too. You know what made me the most happy, in a weird writerly way? There is a pretty miss in editing after a pretty big scene. It reminded me it can happen to anyone.
I can read books while I write as long as they re in different genres.
It’s great that you’re in the flow even though you aren’t moving at the pace you’d like. Just moving along is important, and you have a lot of other things like work and family that take up a lot of your time.
When I started writing, I stopped reading just because I was worried about having the time and such. Once I got more confident in my writing, I got back to reading. I don’t think you have to worry that your writing is as bad as Cline’s just due to the fact that you recognize an issue. If you see it, you’re not doing it.
That definitely sounds like a stressful way to start your morning!
It sounds like you learned a lot about pacing by listening to the audio books.
I definitely read a lot whether I’m writing anything or not. And every good book I read is a learning experience in some way. So are bad books, for that matter. They teach us what NOT to do in our own writing.
I’ve never been a big fan of audio books (my mind seems to wander – go figure). But I love how you describe being aware of pacing. What a great learning tool. I am definitely inspired by a good book, and have many times, when reading one not so good to think, “yeah, don’t do that.” Obviously, easier said than done. Things sound so much better in my head when the people living there say them, than when I get them on the page.
Also, do not hesitate to put up any random piece of your art work with a post. It always brings a smile to my face. 🙂
Hi, Loni! I’m glad the suspicious package at your workplace was office supplies and not something worse. Such events definitely raise stress levels. I. Must. Read. Every. Day. But I read with my eyes. I’m so visual and not auditory. “Shakespeare for Squirrels” sounds like fun and a great stress reliever. Wishing you happy writing this month!
How’d you feel about Ready Player One? I adored that book, but I heard the sequel wasn’t as strong. Christopher Moore has such a clever sense of humor. I’m really into audiobooks as well. Sounds like good progress overall!
I’ve never actually listened to audiobooks, although everyone raves about them. I’m weird with reading though when I’m writing because I’m always afraid some of what I’m reading bleeds into what I write. There’s definitely an influence there.
Glad to know the package was only office supplies! And you got to make that omlete for your kiddos. Sometimes things work out.
Is Ready Player Two the sequel to Ready Player One? I never read the book but I thought the movie of that one was so-so.
Now that is stressful!
I am determined to listen to at least one audiobook this year! I just tend not to gravitate to them, preferring the visual of the words on a page or on a screen.
There’s actually a book titled Shakespear for Squirrels?
I’ve tried a couple of audiobooks, but they’re dangerous to my well-being. I get so absorbed in the story, I walk into walls. Seriously.
Congrats on all the words, even if you only keep half, you’ve done some major work.
Listening to The Dresden Files on audiobook is a great way for me to relax from my own writing, although I still have a lot of listening to do to catch up to Peace Talks. I used to listen to audiobooks a lot during my commute to work, but now that that job is gone and I’m tutoring from home, I scarcely listen to audiobooks at all these days.
Hopefully your incident at work will give you ideas for more stories. And it’s good to hear you’re making progress, even if you aren’t happy with the speed.
I listen to a lot of books-even when I’m in shower or cooking.
Your comments about the audio book was interesting and helpful. If it is dragging…it is dragging.
I like audio books, but my mind sometimes wanders when I’m listening. Maybe once I have a long commute after I move, I’ll try them again.
Yes, I can read books while writing one. I try not to read one with a similar plot, though. I used to be more influenced by the words and worried I might copy them accidentally, but now that my writer’s voice is more developed, I don’t fear that anymore. I find that my writing style is influenced on a broader level by certain authors now.
I love to think about why a storyline is working and what devices turn a story into a page-turner. I try to pay attention to Stephen King’s writing to figure out what makes it so good, but then I end up getting lost in the story and analysis goes out the window. Still trying to crack the code.