One of the things that really stuck with me from the video of Ray Bradbury I posted last week was to explore everything. I heard it again from someone else in a more specific sense: don’t just read in your genre.
It’s good advice – if you only read in your genre, you can get locked in – something I think was happening to me – and you can’t think (or write) outside the genre-box.
I brought home Short Stories by Nathaniel Hawthorne and The Man Who Knew Too Much by G.K. Chesterton from the library today. I’m sure I’ve read Hawthorne before. I’m sure… Chesterton? Not so sure. Doesn’t matter, because the greatest thing is that the Hawthorne edition is old. See?
It even smells old. That sounds gross but it’s not if you’re a book-lover: it’s comforting. Takes me back to summers filled with stacks of books from the library. Yeah, yeah, I played outside a lot too but who cares about that when I had stacks of other worlds and other lives to explore?
Where was I? Oh right – getting variety in my reading. So whether I’ve read these or not, they’ll add to my exploring right now since I’ve mostly been reading YAs lately.
I’m also exploring other stuff: websites that are stretching my boundaries and my comfort zones, and doing other activities besides focusing on writing-things, just to keep me flexible and not non-stop focused on writing. Not that there’s anything wrong with that but I find I need variety, especially on days I’m working and am dragging from it. I need something to break things up, refresh my brain, and bring back the fun, so I don’t view my writing as another task that needs to get done before dragging myself to bed. That sucks and it’s not how it’s supposed to be.
So, Hawthorne? Here I come!