On writing, or lack of it …

photo by Matt Namin

I’ve always wanted to be a writer.   I read constantly, I make my living selling books,  I am immersed in books, literally. Boxes of books totter over my bed threatening to collapse on me. I’m sure I’ll end up as one of those stories in the paper some day, ‘Recluse found dead under mounds of books’.  But for all the ingestion of the printed word over more than half a century, not much has been produced in return.  Occasional blogs, memoirs on the computer for my kids to find some day when they try to figure out who the strange person was that raised them, aborted stories and novels that never see completion.  It’s not that I don’t have a lot to say,  I’m a very opinionated person on almost every subject (though I do tend to change those opinions frequently).

So why aren’t stories and articles and scripts pouring out? What strange writer’s block has constipated the creative process for decades? I’m beginning to suspect that I have to stop reading much to start writing.  I think that the literary tunnel to my psyche is so flooded by the torrents of writing coming in,  that the struggling creations trying to work their way upstream to the outside are just swept away.

So to test this theory I am going to try to stop reading much.   This will probably prove to be much harder than giving up cigarettes or heroin, I have been reading probably an average of a book a day for most of my life.  I can’t envision what a life devoid of literary input would be like.   Has anyone else had these thoughts and tried to stop reading? Are there support groups where we can go and say “Hi, I’m Roger and I’m a reader”?

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20 Responses to On writing, or lack of it …

  1. That seems so sad! You can’t stop reading! Maybe, like people on a diet, you’ll have to just cut back. Moderation is key. LOL

  2. LOL. Extremist, are you? How about just a cleanse for a week or so, then ease yourself back in slowly, to a state of moderation. 😉

  3. Donna Winter says:

    Maybe if you take up heroin and cigarettes then try to quit them, it will make overcoming the writer’s block seem like a small hurdle! Although, I bet Over-readers Anonymous would be loaded with some great, intelligent people. 🙂

    Good luck with your experiment!

    • booksbelow says:

      I agree Over-readers Anonymous would have some great people! In lieu of reading I’ve been sorting and categorizing my thousands of books, I felt physically holding them might help with the cravings. But somehow they keep coming open, and I look down and after a quick page or two, the next few pages just follow right along!

      • Donna Winter says:

        Wellllll, physically holding them to ease the cravings doesn’t work with a junkie and a needle but surely with books, right? haha!

        It would be like ignoring friends to abandon books so I feel your pain ~ D

  4. bspaeth22 says:

    That an amazing amount of reading. I bet I read one or two books a year. Last year it was Twilight. How sad. lol

    I get a lot of writing done though!

  5. Hey Rog, maybe if you did LSD instead of reading a book a day, you’d create some kick ass characters with tons of interesting flaws. Just sayin…

    I do think there’s a correlation though. You’re definitely onto something. While I have been writing my brains out, I’ve watched my “to read” stack pile sky high.

    Shut the book, Rog, and get to writing. 😉

    • booksbelow says:

      Seriously, I do feel I need to stop the input for awhile. But to stop reading …. Thanks for the encouragement, and how did you know I had a book open?

  6. Marisa Birns says:

    At first I was going to suggest portion control. But it is so hard to put the book down after ingesting a few chapters.

    So must agree with Jeanne (followed her here) and advise you to go cold turkey and get to writing.

    Then, as a reward for finishing writing project, you get to read a book!

  7. mfeige says:

    I can’t speak to reading, but there was a time in my life when I was trying to create music and I listen to about 200 songs a day and I kept re-creating those songs, or subconsciously using them and when I cut it down I found it much easier to create. ALthough sadly none of it was very good. My recommendation is you should give a shot! what’s the worst that can happen. you can miss a few books! 🙂 enjoyed the post thanks.

  8. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Roger Hjulstrom, Sandra Wickham. Sandra Wickham said: RT @booksbelow: My new post on being buried in books stopping the creative process, illustrative photo 🙂 http://bit.ly/aZHTAE […]

  9. Kat Barton says:

    Oh lordy.. LOL. Take it slow. Real slow. I feel your pain. I think I relate to the creative process your going through, trying to get it all out when we still have a book in hand. Hmm… you have given me an idea, but maybe we should start a support group? 🙂 Great read!

  10. Sas says:

    Yes. Give up the reading. Because I like reading your writings.

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