For the better part of four years I have offered you a post on writing, Dear Reader, every two weeks on Wednesday. I have not, in all that time, written a post with more than a passing comment on reading for readers*. Ultimately every post I write is for writers of fiction. This one will be too, but there is just as much here for the readers that may have happened by.
I’d like to think that this is a balanced blog post.
I recently finished the novel “Station Eleven” by Emily St. John Mandel. As I closed the back cover I had that old familiar feeling that we’ve all had since childhood. That last page melancholy, that realization that the dream is over and you’ll never get to read that novel for the first time again. I know many of us re-read novels. We ache to get that rush again, that page-turning frenzy that gripped us the first time through. And often we’re rewarded the second and third time through with a deeper understanding, a missed detail, or a clarified character.
But, there is only one solution to that last page melancholy, Dear Reader. Start reading the next novel on your list.
Writers suffer similar phenomena when they finish writing a story or a novel. There is a melancholy that sets in almost immediately. And the wisdom is the same. Start writing the next story. The day after you finish the one you are working on, start another^.
So whether you’re a reader or a writer, as soon as you finish the book you’re working on, start the next one.
And we’ll keep this relationship going!
*I have mentioned, haven’t I, that there is no such thing as “writer’s block” – that writers who “suffer” this malady are simply not reading? This is true. Writers often go for long stretches without reading. This drains the writer’s creative fuel tank. Someone named the results of this empty tank “writer’s block”.
^The assumption here is that you write every day.