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Weird Writer habit–what you read when you write #writerlife #writerhabit

Sorry guys, I know we had a visitor scheduled for today, but deadlines, edits and life in general have a way of messing up even the best laid interviews. Especially when it happens on both my end and theirs. We’re going to try to reconnect, but for now, I’ll bow to your request for scintillating information on my weird writer habits.

Yes, habits as in more than one, but we’ll just test the waters with my first one:

What I read when I’m in the midst of a project.

We’ve all heard it, if you write, you must read. And read I do. As a matter of fact, one of the biggest blessing of having an e-reader is that it doesn’t take up as much space in my purse/backpack/luggage as paperbacks, nor does it encourage my Igor impression since one e-reader weighs weigh less than five to six paperbacks. 

I’m a huge reader of a wide variety of genres because, if the story’s good, I’m there. Those characters and worlds that suck you right in and haunt your every waking moment are like boxes of the finest chocolate for me. So, imagine my surprise when, early on in my writing career, I discovered that what I read impacted what I was writing.

Now, I wasn’t going around repeating word for word what I read in my stuff, but my developmental process on story arc or character motivation would take turns that weren’t true to my story. For a bit I worried perhaps I’d lost my writing mojo or my Muse had decided to go into the witness protection program. Then, one day as Raine and I were discussing a potential situation, I realized why her voice sounded…well, off.  Somehow, she was channeling the heroine of the book I was currently reading. 

Horrified, I immediately cut of all communication with Raine and sent her far, far away.  Then I quickly finished up the book I was reading (because you do not quit half way through a damn good book, ever), took a deep breath, and began examining the puzzle pieces of my creative process.

When I identified the exact moment, the actual decision Raine had made that was completely foreign to her nature, I was then able to correct it, and get my story back on track. 

Phew, crisis averted. I then had to deal with the very real withdrawal effects of not reading for the next few months as I finished my story. No way, did I want to fall into that sneaky little trap again. 

Of course, after the words THE END were typed, I then went on a reading binge to end all reading binges. When I finally surfaced, I realized that because my creative process is a constant spinning mess in the back of my mind 24/7, I needed to keep a clear line between my current works in progress and what I read when working on them. 

So when I’m working with Raine, Xander and Natasha, I suddenly devour romantic suspense or non-fiction pieces. When Cyn took up residence, I went right back to my first love, Urban Fantasy and Fantasy. So long as I can stay away from the same genre I’m writing in, I’m okay and my story lines tend not to tangle. Plus, I tend to find some really cool books out there (FEED by Mira Grant being the latest, and I’ve got Joshua Roots’ UNDEAD CHAOS downloaded for my dining pleasure soon).

So right now as Natasha and I “discuss” her story, I have a huge selection of the finest chocolates waiting for me when THE END comes along–Anne Bishop, Patricia Briggs, Ilona Andrews, Joshua Roots, Jacquelyn Frank, Jennifer Ashley, JD Tyler, and oh so much more). 

However, I’m not starving, oh no. Because I get to indulge in Elle Kennedy, Trish McCallan, Cynthia Eden, Cristin Harber, Kaylea Cross, Jennifer Lowry, Maya Banks, Lora Leigh, and Suzanne Wright (and yep, many more) until Natasha and I complete our little soiree. 

So weird writer habit one: I can’t read in the genre I’m writing in until my story is done.

Since I know I’m not the only one out there, here’s a question:

Readers–do you tend to stick to one genre at a time or do you mix it up?

Writers–what do you find yourself reading when you’re in the midst of writing?

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