Reader-Me in 2015

I’ve been a reader even longer than I’ve been a writer. Longer than I’ve had the dream of being a writer. And even through long days of spinning stories and fine-tuning words, I’ve never let go of reading. In fact, I’ve continued to devour books at a pace that always astounds me.

But I began to notice something as I read through 2014. Somewhere in my author life, my reader-self went from reading books I found intriguing to reading books I felt I ought to read.

Don’t get me wrong. It isn’t that I haven’t enjoyed many, many of the books I’ve read over the past decade. But many of them are not necessarily the books I would have picked up of my own accord. I picked them up because it was important to read what Christian publishers were publishing in the genre I wanted to write. I picked them up because I knew the authors. I picked them up because they were what thousands of readers of Christian fiction were reading, and I needed to know why.

But reader-me, just like plain-ole-me, isn’t really a “follow the crowd” kind of gal. And so while I’ve been reading what I felt I ought to read, I’ve still been accumulating the books I’ve wanted to read. Don’t get me wrong: some of those are still books written by my friends, books published for the Christian market. But some are not. Some of those books have spent time on the big bestseller lists. Some of have not. Some of those books are historical fiction. Some are not. In fact, some are not fiction at all!

And so I’ve declared 2015 as the year of reading for me, of reading books I find intriguing, whether or not the masses or the critics agree. I will read without regard to publication date, meaning many titles that are old or obscure or ones I’ve read one or a dozen times already. I will read books that pull me in immediately, and I will put down the ones that don’t–even if I’ve paid full price for them. I will read books that stretch my view of the world. Of history. Of God. Books that make me think. Teach me something new. Take me different places.

But most of all, I hope to read books that inspire me to write the stories that reflect my truest self. For in the end, my reading feeds my writing. And I want my work to reflect who I am, not who I feel I ought to be.

6 comments on “Reader-Me in 2015

  1. I echo everything you just said, D’Ann! I started reading more for “me” last year, and it was wonderful!! I read fewer books, but I enjoyed them more. I’m trying to read a few classics along the way that I’ve not read before, and I love it. I’m to the point I don’t even know what my writing genre is. Historical fiction? General fiction? I’ve always been a square peg and didn’t fit the round hole. I don’t see that changing, but I believe as I free myself to read for “me” I’ll also gain freedom in writing more deeply the stories of my heart.

    Good luck to you! Enjoy some fabulous reading in 2015!

    • You and I have had such a similar road, Carla, and I completely agree about gaining freedom in writing through reading. And yes, I’m looking forward to a few more classics this year than I’ve been able to read the past few years. I love classic literature and there are still so many good ones I haven’t yet read!

  2. David Eddings, my favorite author once said he never read the genre in which he wrote. He started his career as a teacher of American lit but left the university life to write fantasy. I too spent the year reading to research the market. And I’ll do a little more of it this year I’m sure. But, like you, I’ll also be reading some soul-feeding fiction so I can remember why books were always so magical to me. Thanks for the inspiring words.

    • I’ve always felt a tension in reading in my genre, because if it’s the genre I want to write, then I need to love it, and that includes reading it. But I think there are so many nuances of the same genre that I have gotten lost in some of the ones that aren’t as much “me” as the others. I’ll still read some new books, and some books written by friends, but I’ll be more intentional in my decision-making this year as there are only so many hours in a day!

  3. I was thinking about this the other day as I perused my shelves. I realized I used to love reading mysteries and adventure stories. Here I am reading tons of historical fiction to get to know my contemporaries. So I, too, have vowed to start off 2015 with Robert Louis Stevenson and Agatha Christie.

    I believe when we feed the reader in us, we also fuel the writer. By swimming out beyond the breakers of our genre, we can explore the depths of what we love. There we can find the jewels and bring them back into our own work.

    Praying 2015 leads you deeper as a reader and a writer.

    • Agreed, Jessica! I think part of it is refining who, exactly, I want to be as a writer. And to do that, I have to read very widely. Blessings on your journey as well!

Comments are closed.