As a sufferer of SAD,(seasonal affective disorder) the spring clock change kicks me into gear. By June, I’m ready to fly. The summer break from my teaching job allows for more intense writing time. These long stretches of time bring its own challenges and pressures. Produce! Publish!
My self-imposed writing regimen also conflicts with another desire: to read a ton of books. In my world, one of the small pleasures in life is coming home from the library on a Friday afternoon with a bag full of new books. I’ve heard some writers say that they don’t read fiction while working on their novels. This would be a hard practice for me to follow. I find that reading certain authors inspire my own work.
When I was working on my YA novel, One Is Not A Lonely Number, I read children’s novels with female narrators, like in my own story. If I am working on a short story, I turn to my favorite writers for inspiration in language and voice. One of my favorite collections is Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout. The plotting, dialogue, insights, and language just blows me away.
When I get stuck, I reread my writing bibles: Bird by Bird by Anne Lamont, On Writing by Stephen King, and Stein on Writing by Sol Stein. As for those beach books–they are my reward for putting in chair time, for typing those 1000 words. So this summer I hope to read: Binocular Vision by Edith Pearlman, Delirium by Lauren Oliver, More Cake and Lots of Candles by Anna Quindlen, Canada by Richard Ford, and Creating Innovators by Tony Wagner.
What’s on your list?