Friday, October 4, 2019

Reading And Writing And How They Co-Exist

Multi-tasking is a thing that everyone can do. It’s a thing that most moms excel at. I myself have taught myself to become good at undertaking (and actually finishing) half a dozen or more tasks all at once. But even for me, there are simply some things I can’t do while involved in certain other pursuits.

I can’t watch TV or movies while writing. I can listen to music and write. My kids can watch TV in the same room as I’m in and I can write. But even if it’s a show I’ve watched a hundred times and know line-by-line, I can not write if it’s on.

When I’m in the thick of writing I tend not to read much. Even if I’ve got 45 minutes to kill in the car while I’m waiting for Angel Face’s dance class to be finished, I can’t get in to reading a book when a part of my mind is (as it always is) absorbed with the story I’m crafting. It’s as if my brain becomes locked on the tale I’m writing and puts up this wall of ‘nope’ anytime I try to read.

I’ll fritter away hours of the day scrolling through Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram, but reading is practically impossible when a part of me is silently saying “you could be writing!”

The reverse is similar, if not quite the same. When I’ve got a book in my hands that is simply entrancing me, I’ll very rarely stop reading to go and write. I can, and have read as many as 4 different novels at one time – my choice of the moment dependent largely on my location and what may be going on around me. But it’s pretty damn rare that you’ll find me reading one moment and writing the next.

I mean it has happened. But not often.

The past couple months I’ve been writing… a lot. (In the past 6 weeks, I’ve written roughly 80,000 words!!!) So this issue of not reading while immersed in my own writing inevitably came up. After all, while I’m committed to writing, I still have 4 kids to care for and a household to run, and work. That leaves a good number of hours during the day when I simply can not be at my computer (or on another device) writing. And sure, I do spend a portion of that time thinking about what happens next and all the things, but sometimes even my writers brain needs a break from the story. But if I’m unable to lose myself in a book?

Well I’m happy to say that after all these years of this struggle, I’ve finally found a way to “read” during periods of writing, without actually reading.


Okay, yes, this is not a new thing. It’s not a unique or even brilliant idea. But it’s changed things in my daily life dramatically. You can laugh, it’s okay. It is sort of funny.

The thing, for me, about audiobooks is that I can be vastly entertained by the story as I listen to it, but my mind doesn’t latch on to the story in quite the same way as when I’m physically reading it. In a way the audiobook is like the music or TV in the background – I enjoy it but it doesn’t fully distract me from what my mind is focused on. I can satisfy my need to lose myself in another world, without becoming a part of it.

Another bonus? It takes way longer to get through a book while listening to it in audio format than it would if I was reading it myself. So I’m also not bombarding my brain with story-world upon story-world, upon story-world.

So for me, it’s a definite audiobooks for the win!

What about you? Do you listen to audio books?

What are you listening to RIGHT NOW?