Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Writing WHILE Reading

Do you have specific places where Madame Muse tends to visit on a fairly consistent basis? My muse has really good hygiene so she frequently visits me in the shower. She also likes to sit with me while I fall asleep and while I'm picking the kids up from school. But there's nothing she likes more than snuggling up with a good book.

I have yet to figure out how to put a notebook in my shower, but I do have one next to my bed and I never sit down to read without having a pen and paper within reach. There's nothing worse than curling up with my book only to have a great idea send me scuttling for my notebook.

There's no end to the inspiration I get while reading, specifically if I'm reading with my current project in mind. That's not to say that l'm looking to steal good ideas from other books. I've never found a good idea to be that straight forward and even if it was, I'd toss it back and send it to the principle for cheating. 

Often I'll read a single word that moves me enough to form a whole passage in my own project. Reading an evocative image might trigger a completely new idea once I think of it in relation to my characters and my story. While I read I jot down the nuggets of ideas as they come to me so that when I sit down to write I have a whole list of topics, words and images to jump start me. It might not be the cure all for writer's block, but it certainly helps.

So, I'm curious. Do you read and write at the same time?Where does your muse visit you?  


  1. I've tried to read and write at the same time because I love both, but I just can't make it work. I find myself changing voice to match what I'm reading.

  2. The story pulls me in too hard when I read, so I can't think about writing then. But when I walk my dog for our daily 45 min jaunt, I solve all kinds of writing dilemmas.

  3. Mine visits me in conversations. Often, something I'm thinking about (for a poem or a blog entry or an essay) gets mirrored back to me in someone else's experience. I love this kind of cosmic coincidence!