Since Lisa has already posted a blog or two, I thought I’d scribble something down, too.
2013 has started off crazy-busy for us, and busy is good, but I can’t believe it’s already halfway through January. Okay, not quite halfway, but we are now done with the second week, so it’s close.
I think it’s safe to say that almost everyone coming by here writes, and most of us try to find the time to read. Part of it is occupational hazard – you have to read to keep up with the book biz.
Are you still able to make time to read just for fun any more?
I know once I got into radio (way back in the last century), the magic of being a listener was greatly diminished. Most of what I heard wasn’t the music, or the fun, but instead, it was the mistakes being made by whoever was on the air. As I went into producing, that actually became part of my job – find and fix the things that go wrong.
I go for a drive now, and I hear the piece of audio that our “Jack” station uses, with clips of lots of songs to show you they really are playing whatever they want. And instead of being enamored with the variety, or hearing a piece of a song I hadn’t heard in years and thinking that it was cool, I become a critic. I think that the whole piece was too long (or too short). The clips were better than the first song they played. That first song was late (or early) because that whole thing should be played right at the top of the hour.
I punch around the dial. The classic rock station is probably playing Led Zeppelin or Pink Floyd. The “Best of Then and Now” station is playing that same 80’s track they played this morning, or yesterday (lately Talk Talk “It’s My Life”). The Top 40 station is advertising. The Adult Contemporary station is playing Nickelback or Taylor Swift. And the Oldies station is playing a song that I’m not ready to admit is an oldie.
Does that happen to you as a writer? Can you read something without thinking about their wrong word choices, not-quite-plausible motives or obvious info dumps? Are you jealous because they got a better cover than you, or do you feel sorry for them because they got a terrible cover?
I’ve heard many writers say that when they sit down to start, there is nothing more frightening than that first blank page. I feel the other way about that. To me, it’s filled with possibilities and opportunities.
That’s how I used to feel about going into bookstores. There could be anything in there. I had that magic and wonder that only those who love books can really understand.
There aren’t so many bookstores now, of course. And when I do go into a Barnes and Noble, I can’t help but look at their displays and turn back into a critic instead of a fan.
So-and-so has a new book out from Publisher X? Hope she got an advance ‘cause she’s not getting any royalties. How clever?! A book about teenage vampires/werewolves! What an original idea! Seriously? Reality Star Z got a book deal? I didn’t know they could read, let alone write!
You get the idea.
Occupational hazard. It’s hard to be a fan in the business you’re in.
All that said, there are still a handful of authors that I do geek out over. For them, the inner producer seems to go away. I still get excited when I hear they have something new coming out, and I do my best to make their book my top priority, even in a crazy-busy world where we all have ninety-seven top priorities.
So I’m still excited when Stephen King puts out a new book.
Every writer has a favorite, a writer who made them want to write. King was that writer for me. The Shining was the first one of his that I read. And that changed everything. I devoured every book eagerly, savoring the characters, the descriptions and fantastic storytelling!
By the way, that's probably not the real cover for Dr. Sleep.
And for those who haven’t read him, and only know Stephen King from the movies, you’re missing out. Those blood-soaked gorefests aren’t what his books are about.
I’m very excited that later this year, King will re-visit my favorite novel, and give us a sequel to The Shining so we can see what Danny’s been up to over the last thirty-plus years. That will definitely be the book in 2013 that turns me back into a fanboy.
How about you? Is there a writer today that you still read for fun? Someone that pushes you to be better? An author that makes you set aside all that Inside Publishing nonsense and just enjoy the magic?
Leave a comment and let us know what you’re looking forward to reading this year!