For the last fourteen months, I’ve written a book a month on average. This month, though… I cut it very close. I finished the current rough draft on August 30. I’ll do a quick revision, let it sit, and then revise again before passing it on to my editor. I only count rough drafts against that one a month goal, though.
For a couple weeks, the work in progress inched along. I was rarely hitting my stride of 2000 words an hour. It was a lot closer to 500 words an hour. For me, personally, that’s not a good speed.
Meanwhile, I was reading a book that was… okay. It wasn’t bad. I’ve read bad books before. This one was merely mediocre. It didn’t have a lot of great quality. It simply was. I evaluated it as I read, picking out what was good and what the writer could have done better. Even mediocre books are handy for that sort of thing.
And then I finished that book and picked up my next book. This one grabbed me right away. The characters, setting, and plot pulled me in.
At the same time, my writing amped up . Suddenly I was writing closer to 2.7k words an hour.
As far as I can tell, the only thing that changed was my reading material. I didn’t have more free time. Stress in my life didn’t suddenly increase or decrease. I was writing off an outline, so it wasn’t like I was stuck before and suddenly had inspiration. Nope. What shifted was the quality of my downtime reading.
What’s the lesson here? Did the mediocre book suck my will to create? Did the good book inspire me to be my best self?
I don’t think it’s anything that dramatic. Correlation isn’t causation. That said, I’m going to pay attention to what I’m reading vs. my writing output and see if there’s a pattern beyond this week. It could be fun to figure something like this out. I’m also going to continue hopefully enjoying good books to read!
How about you? Do you find that what you read affects the quality of what you write?