Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Confessions of a reading addict

I've been an avid reader since I was in 6th grade.  I remember sitting in the back of the class and sneaking books off the shelf.  I'd hide them in my textbook (SO original) and read instead of paying attention.  Years later, I ran into my 6th grade teacher.  He remembered me and said he would time me to see how fast I was reading each page.  Guess I wasn't as sneaky as I thought.

Countless times, I have "one more chaptered" into the wee hours of the morning reading on a school/work night because I could not bear to stop.  Being exhausted the next day wasn't a big enough deterrent.  It went a little something like this...

10:30 pm- I'll read until 11.
11:00 pm- Just one more chapter and then I'll stop.
12:00 am- I can't stop here.  I'll stop when I find out <insert plot twist here>.
1:30 am- Ugh.  It's so late.  But, I only have a few chapters left.  Might as well finish.
2:15 am- Ahh, finished!  That was SO good!
6:00 am- The alarm goes off.  "ARGHHHH!  Why, why, WHY do I do this to myself?!"

I devoured books, but it was always a letdown when I got to the end of a well-loved story because it meant my time with those characters was over.  I would (and still do) re-read favorite books just to extend the time I get to spend with those characters.

Another habit was to imagine what the characters did after the story was over.  Although I didn't know that fanfiction even existed, I would make up my own stories about books I loved.  While I never took the next logical step of writing down my stories, any time my mind was idle was a good time to escape into my imagination.

A boring class was a great time to get imaginative, but time spent in the car was also fertile ground.  Sadly, I couldn't read in the car due to motion sickness.  I remember childhood road trips (pre-tablet/cell phone/iPod days) when I would pass the time imagining events that continued the stories I loved the most.  Anne McCaffrey's world of Pern was a particular favorite.  After all, what girl wouldn't love to be found on a Search and learn that she will ride a dragon someday?

The car is still a fertile ground for developing ideas for stories.  There is something about the mindlessness of driving a familiar route that sets my imagination free.  Typically, music is playing as I drive.  I especially love songs that tell a story.  Often, I'll hear a song and begin imagining the story in my mind just like when I'm reading a book.

Recently, I've spent my commute playing around with ideas for my own book.  It's a time that my mind is free to wander without having to focus on anything in particular.  It is also, unfortunately, a TERRIBLE location for actually writing down my ideas because I could basically end up wrecking and killing myself or someone else.  Not good.  Sometimes, I'll use the voice recorder on my phone to record a new idea for a plot twist.  That way, I have something to jog my memory about that brilliant idea I had on the way to work, when I'm on the way home ten hours later and my brain is fried.

So, my challenge now is to take that obsession with reading that began way back in 6th grade and translate that energy and drive into writing my own stories.  I have a few ideas rattling around in my brain that are begging to be written.  Stay tuned to see what happens!

So, is anyone out there a reading addict, too?  To what lengths has your addiction driven you?  Share your stories in the comments below.  I'd love to hear from you!


  1. I'm a reading addict! Book hangovers - check. Out of control Amazon one-clicker - check. Ereader owner - check. (4 of them!) Out of bookshelf space - check. Looking for a cure? Not on your life! ;)

    1. I'm with you! I don't think I really want to change, either.