A Guest Post for MLBB: Thoughts about Reading Books while Writing Books

Consider the obvious when an author names one of their hobbies being reading. That would make a lot of sense; in a call-and-response kind of matter. An author wouldn’t be in the profession they’re in now if they didn’t read in their spare time and any author that doesn’t read is one that ought to not be trusted.

As an author myself, I too am just as adamant about reading as I am about writing, and an activity like that doesn’t stop when I’m creating reading material myself. I still read, amidst the story that’s swirling in my own head… and it’s the balance regarding switching between two different, fictional worlds at a time that remains to be a challenge.

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I’ve been a published author for a little over a year now. I released my debut novel, “A Moment’s Worth,” last year, and I’m currently in the editing stage for my second novel. I wrote the draft for the second novel in a little over six months, and during that time, I read a total of 10 books. Some of the books include: “The Alchemist” by Paulo Coelho, “What I Talk About When I Talk About Running” by Haruki Murakami, “Looking for Alaska” by John Green, “Ready Player One” by Ernest Cline, and “The Sun Gods” by Jay Rubin. These along with a graphic novel, a poetry collection, and a short story collection make up some of the books I’ve read during the drafting period for the second novel.

Anyone familiar with these titles knows that they’re not at all similar to one another. Sure, some of them may share similar strands, but they’re all just as different as they can get. One of them could easily be an incredibly long proverb with a plot, one of them easily falls under the historical fiction genre, one of them is a memoir, and one of them is yet another addition to the heightened dystopian genre. All the while, over on my end of the fiction sphere, without giving away my yet-to-be disclosed synopsis, I’ve been working on a novel that is more or less science/utopian fiction, with a twist of civil rights infused.

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For that matter, with the material in my head and whatever material I’ve been reading have, for the most part, differed greatly, and one can imagine how mind boggling it can get when jumping between works like that. One minute I may be writing a really heavy scene for my book, the next minute I’m reading up about how two gods from Filipino folklore came together and fell in love. It’s exhausting!
Words in books, when crafted in as clever of a way possible, can be powerful, and sometimes influential; so much as to where it can deter between passing through your mind without a second thought, or manifesting itself in your mind into a whole new thought experiment. In other words, you have a choice between being influenced by the work you’re reading, or not at all.

Out of the books that I’ve read during the drafting period, there were a few that I chose for thematic purposes; in attempt to further develop ideas of my own. I did something similar while writing my first novel; where I read a heap of David Mitchell’s novels, and I let them manifest in my head and aid me in the direction I wanted to take. I always say that it’s okay to have influences and inspirations, so long as you’re not stabbing them in the back and completely ripping them off.

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As for the books where I just want to read and enjoy and not mesh with the story in my head, I treat those in a different way. I treat books like those similar to how I would visit a different country; where I would respect the laws and customs there. I’m only there for a limited period of time before I’m on my way. For that matter, that’s why I’ve managed to switch between writing my novel, and then go off to read something completely different, like a fantasy tale or something. I don’t know if it’s from my nature as a bookworm that I’m able to do this, or my skills as a writer where I can simply get lost in my own world.

Either way, this is how I’m able to continue reading the books that I want to read while writing the books I want to write. It’s all about deciding which books you want to be influenced by, and which ones you simply want to “visit.” Just be sure that something is gained from the chosen path.

“Reading about journeys while on a journey is an intensely stimulating experience” –Umberto Eco

Written by Lauren Lola

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My Writing Process Blog Tour

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Morning my lovely littlebloggers! Today I am taking part in the ‘My Writing Process Blog Tour,’ and firstly I must thank the both incredibly talented and hilarious blogger Jacke Wilson; I first came into contact with Jacke when he asked me if I wouldn’t mind reviewing his book. Since then I have read and reviewed both his books and he has now recommended me for this blog tour which is super! If you ever have minute please go and take a peak at his blog it is very special and I am a big, big fan! So I’ve checked off  number one. (Acknowledge the person who invited you to the blog tour, and that you are part of “My Writing Process” Blog Tour.) So the next on the checklist is to answer these four questions;

What am I working on? This one is a little difficult for me, as I’m not officially a writer but a book blogger. However, I am currently working on a number of book tours and cover reveals, and I have recently started my own weekly post called Thoughtful Thursdays. Although I say I’m not a writer one day I hope to get a novella published but we will have to see! For now my job as a blogger is to keep reading and reviewing!

How does my work differ from others of its genre? Hmm, this question is difficult for me. As a blogger I think what sets me apart is that I will take any book; it doesn’t matter if it is self-published, or if it’s only a couple of chapters that have been posted as an off-thought. I will read any genre, any stance, any idea, and I will listen and try and reflect. I also spend a lot of time whilst reading trying to understand what the author is trying to tell me, or how they are trying to make me feel as to get the best understanding of a book. I get a lot of people commenting that my blog is more of a community feel in which people can come and comment and reflect and ask questions and I really do try and keep it as open and as comfortable for any writer. I really try and play on the community feel in which to give writers as much support as I can as a blogger.

Why do I write what I do? This question is an easy one for me; I started this blog as a personal project fourteen months ago. It all came from writing for the university magazine Concourse. Although I was writing book reviews I had no idea if anyone was viewing my reviews let alone reading or enjoying them. So, after many suggestions from my wonderful mother I set up ‘mylittlebookblog.’ Now, this started as somewhere to write about my personal reviews of books, until I set up my ‘review requests’ page. Since the setting up of that page I have been inundated with requests. These are books from real authors who have spent months, no, maybe years, creating a product. From the seed of an idea, to the filling out of the characters, the setting of the scene, the editing and re-editing, the tears, the cutting of chapters, the sheer hard work and determination, at the end of it all they pass this creation over to me to hold, and to delve into. Here, I have the ability to read the books of unknown, new authors and I get to spill the secrets of how incredible their books are. How they build their character profiles, or how their prose rises and falls unstilted and beautifully fluid. What could be lovelier; they have no idea how I will find the book and yet they want me, yes me, to review it and I am trusted not to be nice, but to be honest. To give praise and criticism with the knowledge that it is sometimes cruel to be kind and that sometimes to critique helps to make the end product even better and more polished. I have fallen in love with blogging, and I have fallen even more in love with reading if that is even possible. But really, why do I write what I do? Because if I have the chance to help one, just one author, then I have done my job here, and that makes me feel incredible.

How does my writing process work?

Hmm, how does my writing process work?

Pyjamas: Okay, that’s a little specific but for me pyjamas work for my writing process. I guess what I am saying is to be comfortable.

Space: The second most important thing for me is to be in the right space to write. I like to sit with my legs crossed on my bed with the sun streaming through the window. No, I can’t control the weather but as long as I am comfy, with my legs crossed staring out the window, words seem to seep out of my very pores. Rain, sleet, snow, cloudy skies, I seem to gain a creative flow.

Music: Now this is potentially a controversial one; I love to listen to music whilst I am writing. The crooning of Maroon Five or the beauty of Ben Howard a little music goes a long way with me. Now, I know many will disagree but whether it is silence, the buzzing of the radio or pumping chart tunes make sure the noise around you is right for you. Experiment, mix it up, but like number one make sure you are comfortable.

Other Bloggers: The last of my four tips is to use other bloggers; I am always looking at my favourite blogs to find inspiration. As mentioned above Jacke Wilson has inspired me to start potentially writing my own ‘Life in 100 objects,’ and after reading a post on ‘Musing Mondays,’ I decided to start my own ‘Thoughtful Thursdays.’ For me creativity can come from anywhere but bouncing ideas off other bloggers seems to work pretty well

So the last point on the list to check off is; Nominate three more authors to follow, with short bios and blog links, and give the date of their blog.

1) So the first blogger is the incredibly lovely Bradley from http://greenembers.wordpress.com. A couple of months ago Bradley took a chance on me as a blogger and asked me to take part in one of their podcasts. I was a bag of nerves, however he made it so incredibly lovely and since then I have been a daily reader of the blog he runs! It really is worth a look!

2) My second blogger is Shannon Bradford as http://readingwritingcreating.com. Shannon did a blog post for a couple of months back and the response to it was amazing! If you’d like to see more here is a link; https://mylittlebookblog.wordpress.com/?s=guest+post. Knowing that Shannon is a new blogger I really wanted to get her involved as she is a brilliant writer and rather selfishly I want to know more about where she gets her inspiration from whilst also helping to show you littlebloggers her great blog!

3) Last but certainly not least is Jonas Lee from http://jonasleeblog.com. I met Jonas after he asked me to review his book which you can check out here: https://mylittlebookblog.wordpress.com/2014/04/06/the-time-travellers-grandchild-jonas-lee. After reading the book we have kept in touch regularly commenting and talking about books! I recently nominated Jonas for a blogging award and his answers were incredibly brilliant and I cannot wait to read about his writing process!

 

Look forward to all three posts and their nominations on the 7th of July!

Right, so they we go, I did it. It’s been a pleasure to be involved and I hope you enjoyed this slightly different post! Ciao.