So I was hooked up to a contraction measuring machine yesterday and I brought along a book I’ve been trying to finish for sometime now. Lately I’ve been giving priority to reading self-publishing guides, writing forums, blogs and beta reading. (I probably should be cracking out those baby care books but since this is my second it will all come back to me, right…right?)
Well, I had to have something I could hold in my hand so I grabbed the best-seller that’s been waiting patiently on my nightstand. Leaving books half-finished is not like me. I normally start and can’t stop reading until it’s done. It wasn’t until I kept rereading lines on the page for the third time that I realized it:
Since writing my own books, I don’t read the same as I used to.
Before what was entertainment and pleasure has truly become a study. Now I feel the need to observe everything: flow, punctuation, dialog tags, pov usage, plot developement, and avoiding clichés.
I used to finish a book and say, “How awesome was that book!”
Now I ask, “How did the author do that?”
Has this somewhat diminished the enjoyment of reading?
It definitely seems like I read slower and in smaller clips. I’ve certainly switched from a passive reading and absorbing role to an active and analytic role. In the past, I would feel this way when we were reading a book for a class, and even though the enjoyment of the prescribed book is affected, I would always come away with a deeper understanding of the book and I tend to remember those books in much better detail.
In a way, reading is now more work. But I think about each book while reading and long after I’m finished, and I have a much better understanding and appreciation than I would have had previously.
It must be the same for artists. They probably have difficultly just looking at a beautiful landscape and saying, “What a gorgeous sunrise!” Since they’re probably thinking, “What color is that sun?” and “How can I create that myself?”
What about you? Have you noticed that you read differently since writing? How has your reading process changed?