Thursday, June 20, 2013

The Flip Side to Writing

I had a really interesting conversation with a musician friend of mine a while back. I keep bombarding her with songs I like, and 99% of them time she won't enjoy them like I do. You could put it down to difference in tasteand that's definitely part of itbut she told me something once (while rejecting yet another song) that really made me stop and think.

"It's hard to enjoy music as much as I used to. Now that I'm familiar with the process and what it takes to make a song sound the way it does, it's hard not to spot mistakes or things that I don't like, which never happened before. It's harder to enjoy music now that I make it too."

Which got me to thinking about books. About books and writing.

It's something that I've noticed too, over the years. Since I started seriously writing I haven't been able to look at books the same. Books I used to love as a kid are approached with a much more critical eye now. I'm able to pick out tricks or ploys a lot better than I used to. Able to explain exactly what doesn't work for me in a story. I'm so much more AWARE of the writing, now that I write too.
It's both a blessing and a curse. I can't enjoy books as much as I used to (I've always been picky, but that's another story). I'm not swept up in the writing as easily as I used to be. I don't rave about as many books as I used to.

But when I find a story I loveoh, man. I can appreciate all the hard work the author's put into itreally appreciate it, because I know how hard it is to get there now. I see it like I was never able to see it before, because I'd never attempted to do what all those authors out there do: Write a book.

So I guess there's a downside to this writing business. But maybe it's not really a downside at all. Maybe it's an elevation. You learn the ins and outs, third person versus first, past tense versus present, multiple POVs versus one. You become more discerning. You learn to spot quality writing. You don't get swept away by something less than average.

And you appreciate the great books on a whole new level.

So yeah. Sometimes being a writer takes away from being an anything-goes reader. But ultimately that's a good thing. And if that's the price to pay for writingI'll take it. Any day of the week.

What do you guys think? Am I the only one who feels this way or do you get what I'm saying here?

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