Friday, February 2, 2007

Multi-tasking

So, I'm really getting into this whole "simultaneous" thing. There was a time when I wouldn't work on more than one project at once, for fear that I would drop the other. It really comes down to, being in two different phases of the work. Like I wouldn't write two rough drafts at once, because to me, that's a recipe for badness. (Although this isn't a judgment on someone else's process. If you write more than one rough draft at once and it works for you, more power to you!)

Now I'm starting to let this carry over into reading. Right now I'm reading a book that is kind of hard to get through. I like it, it's good, but it's just not something I can pick up and not want to put down. I know that sounds insane. How can I really be drawn in by the characters and story if I can so easily put it down? I'm not sure really. Maybe the author's style doesn't quite jibe with me. That happens sometimes. I'm not sure what it is, but I want to keep reading it.

At the same time though...I'm stalling out on it and it WILL take me forever to get through it. And I've committed myself to reading 50 novels this year because I think reading is so very important to being serious about writing. To make a commitment to write is also to make a commitment to read.

So I'm considering adding this multi-tasking attitude to reading and read more than one novel at once. Hell, I'm writing on more than one at once, if I can do that, I can read more than one at once. This way I can take my time and meander through this difficult, but still very worthwhile novel, while not slowing down my progress on my 50 novels in a year thing.

The other day I commented in the magical musings blog, that I tend to not read flashbacks in novels. Usually they slow down the story for me and at the end it's very rare for me to honestly say: "Gee, I really wish I'd read that flashback, because the story doesn't make sense." Usually it does make sense. Sometimes flashback enriches a story, but often it just slows it down and gives me a stopping place to put the book down.

As I've grown more serious about writing, my attitudes toward reading have changed. For example...I don't feel it necessary to plunge through a novel I don't like. I just cut my losses and stop reading. If I get to a flashback that doesn't just immediately drag me in, I skip it and go back to reading the front story. Now I'm considering reading two novels at once on those occasions that I get to a "difficult" novel that I still want to read but that is slowing me down.

Does anyone else read more than one novel at once? What are your attitudes toward reading, as a writer?

5 comments:

spyscribbler said...

I want more reading time. I'm a little ADD, and by the time I sit down to read, my brain is as scattered as it can get.

I read everyday, quite a bit. Problem is, I don't finish anything because everything goes into my wait-until-you-can-read-it-whole pile. So I have a pile of 30 books right now that are top priority, loved-the-beginnings books.

Edie said...

I read more than one. When I'm reading a book I love, then I finish it, but that's been rare lately. Except the last book I read, Jayne Ann Krentz's WHITE LIES. I started it last night and was up until 3 am this morning reading it. Yay, for JAK! She rarely disappoints.

Usually I'm like Spy. I have books I start and I never finish. They just weren't compelling enough, I guess. Not for me, anyway.

Camilla said...

The only time I read more than one book at a time is if I've already read the books and am studying them, OR they're research books(and I'm usually so giddy about research that I can't decide what to read first).

But I have noticed that the more serious I become about writing, the further I'm willing to explore in my reading. I think it's because I am reading less like a reader and more like a writer--examining the techniques an author is using and why,etc.

What 50 books are you reading?

Zoe Winters said...

heheh Spy, I might be a little bit ADD with reading too. ;)

Edie, That sounds like a great book, I might have to add it to my TBR list. :)

Camilla, I have no idea what 50 books i'm reading. I have a TBR list that's climbing on up there, but I try not to lock it down to much as to exactly what I'm reading when. I just read whatever strikes my fancy at the time. But it helps to have a list. That way I don't forget about all the really great books I eventually want to get around to. :)

Michelle said...

I read more than one all the time. I also read books that I can easily put down, but which I'd like to finish. So if a book I've ordered that I'm looking forward to comes along, or a research book I can't wait to dive into, I'll abandon the hard to read book without a qualm and go back to it later. I have a good memory, so it never seems to matter, I always know where I am and can pick up and carry on.