Well, obviously you can. You wouldn’t be reading my blog otherwise! What I should rather ask is: can you read fiction while you’re writing your own novel?
Young writer Justus M Bowman wrote on his blog “reading is more work than play for me these days" and I had to agree with him. I used to be a voracious reader; I could finish an average size book in a day or I’d read into the wee hours of the night to finish a longer book.
Since I become a writer, though, I seem to have lost the joy I had in reading fiction. When I read, I’m working. I’m constantly checking the text to assess it. What did the author do right to make this passage move me? What is wrong with this paragraph that my attention is lost? On and on the questions go!
I’m not alone either. In an interview romance author Laura Kinsale had this to say:
“When I became a writer, I lost the ability to read fiction. I can see all the buttons being pushed. I find it very difficult to become immersed in a story now - for me, it's like watching a movie and knowing exactly what the set looks like: the lights are overhead, the director is sitting off to the side, a make-up artist is standing there ready to buff up the actors' faces. It was a great loss to me. I've been able to read a bit more in the past few years, but I still read very little fiction of any kind. I read lots and lots of non-fiction”
I find the moment my mind starts wandering off into the realm of a new full length novel, I stop reading. It’s as if my brain can’t cope with being a reader and a writer at the same time. So how about you? Can you read and write at the same time?