Friday, October 7

How Writing has Ruined Me

I’ve finally begun writing again! The good news is that I’ve written quite a few words already. The bad news is that those words were in the form of a critique for a new critique partner.

I enjoy the critique process. I love seeing how another author crafts his/her story. The turns of phrase I would never think of. How they sculpt their characters in unique ways. Like judging a contest, I learn as much from critiquing as I hope the person on the receiving end does. And, knowing me, there’s no doubt a bit of satisfaction that comes from sharing my vast wealth of knowledge *hair flip*

In truth, all I can be is another, newer, different set of eyes looking at a story to help find the issues. We authors often get so caught up in the many little details of our stories, we can overlook or even be blind to the big ones. Like not seeing the forest for the trees. Not seeing the mountain because we have a microscope focused on the blades of grass. We already know things like whose POV we’re in at any given point in the story… why doesn’t the reader? We already know our hero would never be attracted to the heroine’s sister because she’s a redhead… do we really have to spell out to the reader that his first girlfriend was a redhead who cheated on him?

We all know the answer is “yes.” Which is why having a good critique partner is so crucial, to help find issues—big and small—with your story. Which is a contributing factor into why writing has ruined me for reading. I don’t have a lot of time for recreational reading these days. The little time I do take is often riddled with guilt that I should be writing my own book. Or doing dishes. Add to that the near-constant state of “critique-mode” I’m in—either my own writing or a fellow author’s—and I can barely stand to read for fun. Errors and issues, the flagrant and the minute, smack me in the forehead until I want to scream. Either at the author for their mistakes or at myself for my inability to just sit back and be entertained.

Am I alone on this? Does anyone else have this problem? How do you deal with it?


  1. I want to hear the answer to this! I just want reading to be fun, and it all-too-seldom works out that way.

  2. Part of bebe's homework everyday is 20 minutes of reading - so I'm recreationally reading with her...and I'm loving it! So far, I've been able to totally turn off my writing/editing brain, probably because I'm reading outside the contemporary arc...

  3. It's hard for me to read for fun without doing some critiquing, though I still enjoy recreational reading. If I can predict what's going to happen, it's not a great reading experience. I like to be surprised. Maybe a different format would help, Ava. I 'read' a lot of my books on audio - at the gym, when I'm driving etc. It's a totally different experience.