I have something terrible to confess. I read nearly no new books this past year.
This is embarrassing because the advice to every writer is to be an avid reader, and I feel as if I have been slacking on my writerly homework. However, I find it very difficult to keep up my good reading habits while also trying to write.
Like a middle schooler I find myself obsessed with comparisons. My impressions while reading have been everything from, ‘This is a perfect book, why should I even bother’ to, ‘This is terrible, how come they got published’. And just like in middle school, none of these comparisons are helpful. They put me in a post-reading funk, and I struggle to get myself to crack a book.
And yet, not only is reading really important to my craft, it is something I deeply love to do. But my self destructive comparisons have left me in a reading block for over a year.
Enter audio books.
Over the past few weeks I have devoured two books and am in the middle of two more. The reading block has been broken!
There is something about the book being read aloud that allows me to delve into a world much faster than when I pick up a book and read. Listening makes it easy to click in. When I am immersed in the story my urge to compare falls away and I can just enjoy. While I can accomplish the same thing reading it takes me longer to fall into the world of the book, and by then I am already a neurotic mess. Audiobooks for me are the perfect cheat to get more reading done while I push towards the glimmering light at the end of the tunnel on my first draft of my novel.
In case you are interested, Audiobooks are shockingly easy to get your hands on. My local library has books on CD. (I did have to reclaim a CD player/alarm clock from my parents house since the only other player I own is in the car.) And my brother opened my eyes to “Libby” an app that works with your library card to help you download digital versions of books and audio books to your phone or tablet.
I am now happily pushing through my list of recommended books, and starting off the new year with a book binge instead of book block.