Suffering from Reader’s Block

I used to be a rabid reader. Not like some of my friends, but up until I got out of the Navy, I used to read quite a bit. Then I started going to movies regularly and began reviewing. On occasion, I would run into the dilemma of comparing a film with the book, which isn’t something I wanted to do. Comparing a film to its inspirations (book, television, comic) nearly always results in a skewed experience because changes will happen.

I also write a lot and plot out stories. In the Navy, I started carrying a notebook to jot down ideas, and one notebook turned into many (I have a cabinet drawer full, in fact.) Recently I have also gotten the itch to take those notes and ideas and start shaping them, trying to find the story or setting in the idea or thought. A few have actually started demanding my time to get them on paper, and the results have been interesting.

Sadly, I now find myself with a terrible problem: I can’t read anymore. Not to say I have amnesia or am illiterate, it’s just that I have started three different books in the last year and can’t seem to get more than a few pages in before becoming hopelessly lost. Why? Because the moment I start imagining the story an author is presenting to me, I immediately shift over to one of my own unfinished stories and start mentally scripting.

Perhaps the only cure may be to get as many rough drafts down on paper as possible while I’m so inclined (before I shift to another project.) My question is, has anyone else every experienced this phenomenon?

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One thought on “Suffering from Reader’s Block

  1. I love to read; always have, always will – the challenge is finding the time, these days. While I juggle promoting my own horror novel, running a zine and a podcast, going to conventions, running a typo hunt and working on new chapters for the sequel to my novel, in addition to the daily business of life, work, family, etc … time for reading has been few and far between.

    I usually end up reading an old favorite when I get the chance, though, due to my discouraged state in finding anything new that’s worth my time. No, I can’t say my reading is ever thwarted by the brain kicking into writer mode – usually it’s thwarted by my inner grammarian. Once I find one too many errors in a book, I cease to be thrilled about reading it.

    As a member of the Grammar Police (which includes punctuation) I find I can’t ignore rampant mistakes in a novel I’m trying to spend my rare reading time on. Bad grammar, horrid punctuation (none at all, or too much) plus rabid plot bunnies and shallow storytelling abound these days, in self-published works and officially published works alike. Where are the editors? Were they present when these “little gems” slipped under the fence unpolished? Heck, one has to ask if the editors know how to spell or punctuate, either! But I digress….

    At present, I have found a treasure: a new book that is really good, well done, and almost no typos. It’s about Doc Holliday, one of my favorite persons from history. Whenever I do get a chance to read it, I enjoy every moment; at least until I have to get back to work on one of my many other pressing projects. Ah, time, you are such a fleeting thing.

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