Why Did I Stop Reading?
First of all, happy Halloween to all my readers out there and to those who enjoy the spooky holiday. Tis the night before Nanowrimo and it’s also the spookiest night of the year!
This year I said to myself that I was going to read again. I wasn’t sure how – I was always on my computer or always doing something that “didn’t allow” time for me to really enjoy a good book. I always felt, or rather lied to myself, that there just wasn’t any good books around anymore.
“There’s no such thing as an original story anymore!” certain people would cry out. And I was dumb enough to listen to them. But that’s a lie. That’s just another excuse I went with – the first and common excuse was that I “didn’t have time”. I always had plenty of time to read, just as I had as much time tweeting on Twitter or eating out with my boyfriend. Or even just working when I felt that I had to bring it home – when I really couldn’t.
Recently, I moved across the country for personal reasons. And suddenly, I had all the time in the world. As much as I love games, my boyfriend uses my computer (as it’s the only thing powerful enough to play games right now) and none of the games on a console I already had didn’t interest me (except Yakuza Kiwani but I’ll eventually play that after Nanowrimo). What else was there to do?
Well, I have my tablet along with Amazon Kindle. I might as well read.
Usually, in every new year, I try to tell myself, “This year is the year that I read 5 books!” It’s an easy enough goal and the year is long – eventually, I figured, I would have more downtime. But at the location I’m at now, I have nothing but time. And I finally dove into some books that I either read at Barnes & Nobles (where there really isn’t anything else to do) or that I snagged for a good deal on Amazon Kindle.
But it’s only October and I already read 3 books and already on my 5th. Maybe I should up the ante next year.
The reason why I stopped reading is that I felt that, as a writer, I was cheating. I didn’t want to accidentally take someone else’s idea and put into my own work. I felt as though I was peeking over at the other students’ tests. However, even after I read 4 books thus far, I look back at my ideas and realize that they have potential but it didn’t have that oomph, that reason I should keep at it. I always lose steam. I always lose focus.
Partially, I do feel as though my imposter syndrome took a hold of me but the truth is deeper than that – I ran out of creative juices. I felt that “Well, I don’t need to be influenced by anyone else! I’m creative!” And I’m right, I am creative but here’s the thing I’ve learned – no one is creative on their own. Everyone influences each other in some way.
When I see fanart of my favorite anime or games, I get inspired to write fanfiction. Why is it okay for fanart to be my source of inspiration? Why can’t I take inspiration from other books? I originally started to write fanfic because, as arrogant as this sounds, I wanted to rewrite canon better. I wanted two characters to kiss and here’s how I interpret their relationship within the canon (or not – alternative universes are fun too).
It’s a hard lesson to swallow but after consideration, I need to remember that writers influence each other. Writing is an art and I need to appreciate it more from the other side again.