Lately I’ve been struggling with something that bothers me more than I care to admit. It’s something that goes so deeply into the core of who I am, that the thought of changing it at all terrifies me. It’s my love of reading. I have always loved to read, from the day I learned how. I can’t remember a time in my life that books didn’t play such an important role that I often chose them over real people. That is, until about a year ago, when my writing really started to take off and I was presented with a little thing called deadlines. My reading has been woefully inadequate of late. But what do you do? I’ll tell you what I did. I started setting time aside for reading. Making goals that if reached, allowed me to read a book before trying to write something else, and that’s when the real terror set in.
Though I have always been a writer, I haven’t always dealt with editors. This is something new and unusual for me. And painful. Holy cats is it painful! This isn’t going to be a rant about my LOVE/HATE relationship with editors, but more a voicing of my concern over how that relationship has changed me as a reader. I have always been a very forgiving reader. A few typos might catch my eye, but I wasn’t one to reflect on how much passive voice a writer chose to use, or if their characters were unrealistic, cliche or every other thing editors like to say. I think most readers out there are the same. The only people who actually care about these things are editors, book reviewers and those assholes on Amazon that can’t just say whether they liked a book or not, but have to throw all kinds of high brow terminology into the review and act superior to every other reader on the planet. You know who you are. If you are reading this, I just want to tell you that you are a pretentious asshole and we see through you! Good Day, Sir!
Sorry about that, but that guy really torques my bisquick! (Yeah, I don’t know what it means either, but my friend Axel said it once and I liked it!) So here’s my problem. After spending the last year-year and a half with editors, I am beginning to lose my enjoyment of the reading process. Suddenly I find myself picking apart stories, noticing flaws in the pacing, passive voice and other things that I like to call “soft writing” when I find myself doing them. And you know what? It really scares me. A story has to be really great to keep me from noticing the errors. Am I becoming one of these people? I don’t want to. Is this just a phase for me? I guess only time will tell, but I hope so. Maybe I need to practice meditation, or yoga, or voodoo magic before I pick up a book. Anything to teach me how to keep my own inner editor from ripping apart the work of others. I want to love to read again. The alternative is too scary.