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April 25, 2011


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Well, I periodically do the read a book in one sitting. Or nearly one sitting. (I mean, the dog does need her walk!)

Okay, I'm my biggest fan. Again, I periodically cast my brain over something I wrote and dig it outta the computer archives to read it again...and I'm always impressed at the story. Not necessarily the writing, but the story. I tell a good story!

Looking ahead. That can be tricky. Not because I spend too much time looking in the rear view mirror but because I'm either too focused on the far ahead and so tend to weave a bit on the road or am focused too much on each exit as it comes up and wondering if I need that one or not...

It's finding that right place to focus on that is the trick!

Donna Cummings

Maureen, I rarely get to read in one sitting anymore, so I enjoy it when I do. And I'm glad to hear you are your biggest fan! I think we all should be our biggest fan, but we often let the inner critic sway us the other direction unfortunately.

LOL about trying to figure out which exit to take. That is so true. It's nice to have options, but boy, sometimes they can get overwhelming!


great ideas, donna! i especially like the rearview mirror concept and yep, reading replenishes very nicely, indeed!

Donna Cummings

Jenn, I forget how much I need to replenish with reading. It's sad that I get too busy for it sometimes. :( Glad you liked the rearview mirror idea.

Leigh Michaels

Wonderful, Donna. It also helps, when reading your own work, if you can format it as an ebook and stick it on a Kindle, Nook, etc.... the more it looks like a "real" book, the better the experience!

Donna Cummings

Leigh, that's an excellent tip about formatting it as an e-book for reading purposes. I don't have one (yet! After reading today about the upgrades to the Nook Color, I am so tempted.) Until I do, I try to read in Word using the two-page format that looks book-ish. It's fun AND it feels like a book!

Cassy Pickard

Donna: Your post came at JUST the RIGHT moment. Thanks! I read until 3:15 am a few nights ago, only because I wanted to, was home alone and therefore could. It felt great.

Now I have to put aside the next temptation and put my own words on the page.

Donna Cummings

Cassy, I'm glad it arrived when it did. :) I miss those middle-of-the-night reading extravaganzas. They're so wonderful, but I had to remind myself that they're also part of a writer's toolkit. And I'm trying to step away from my other temptations. I do have the Word doc open!

Clarissa Southwick

Great suggestions, Donna. When my brain is too fried to write, I'll watch a movie with the same setting. It always gets those ideas flowing. Or puts me to sleep. Sleep is good for re-energizing, isn't it?

Liz Lipperman

I love these suggestions, Donna. I am in between books right now, and a few weeks ago, I read 2 entire books in 5 days, something I have not done in awhile.

You are so right about recharging and just reading an old manuscript for pleasure. I have decided I am not the best writer in the world, but I like reading my stories and hopefully, others will, too.

Donna Cummings

Clarissa, sleep is definitely re-energizing! In fact, I seem to have lost my ability to nap, and I wish I could get that back. I'm positive it's a good creativity enhancer. :)

Donna Cummings

Liz, that does sound wonderful, reading 2 books in 5 days. And I love reading old manuscripts--there's always something in there that delights me, making me exclaim, "Wow, did I write that?!" I have no doubt people will love reading your stories. They sound so fun. :)

Tiffinie Helmer

Great post and one I needed today.

Donna Cummings

Tiffinie, I'm glad it helped out!

Anita Clenney

Great blog, Donna. Burn out can really be like hitting a brick wall. I recall times when I couldn't string the words together. It's as if I had completely forgotten how to write. But when I step away from it, everything comes back. The fastest and best way for me is to pick up a book. I'm so busy now that I find myself thinking I don't have time to read, but you're right, it's part of our job. We need to read.

Donna Cummings

Anita, reading is a solace, isn't it? And we do need to read, because pouring out words can be a draining experience. Getting lost in a good book is such a great way to get rid of that burnt-out brick-wall feeling. As soon as I'm done revising today, I'm going to luxuriate in a good book. :)

Liz Fichera

If I couldn't read every day (or almost every day), I'd go crazy. Great suggestions!

Donna Cummings

Liz, I never realize how weird it is to NOT read until I pick up a book and start reading -- and then I think, "Wow, this is so great! Why don't I read more?" LOL

julie gardner

Such great advice. My favorite is the "read a book in one sitting" tip.

(although with kids it's not realistic to do it ALL at once, really.)

But I've been trying to fit in reading in big chunks as often as I can. Every afternoon for at least 30 minutes and every evening for close to an hour.

And also for an hour when my kids are at karate on Mondays-Fridays.

I average close to two hours a day.

It's amazing how much I can get read when I turn off the TV and ignore the cell phone.

And I truly do think it's the best way to improve your own writing. (IMHO.)

And now? Off to read ROOM, by Emma Donohue.

Can't wait!

Donna Cummings

Julie, I agree that reading helps improve our own writing. I read (!) somewhere that reading is what helps us internalize story structure, and it makes sense. It's a much more fun way to learn those things. :) I haven't been reading as much as I'd like, so I'm working hard to add it in. Maybe I consider it too much of a pleasure. LOL I'll have to start calling it "work".

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