I have a secret.
Yes, you heard me right. And here it is. I am not a book nerd.
I hear several gasps out there from many of you. See, people have assumed that because I am a writer that I am also an avid reader. And while I DO love and treasure books, this just isn’t true.
Reason being? I write so much I don’t make time for reading anymore like I should. And I say should because again and again I read on blogs and such, that in order to be a strong writer you need to be a strong reader. And I’m failing in this area, miserably.
I let people on social media see me as a huge book buff because that is what I’m ‘supposed’ to be. But I barely take the time to read. Let me rephrase that. I read constantly. But as far as fiction books go, it’s hard for me to do. There are many reasons why.
One, I’m trying desperately to build my social media platform, which requires me to be on Facebook and Twitter frequently. As writers, we all know, if we want to get traditionally published we have to get our names out there. Networking. We have to be noticed. We have to create a fan base before an agent will even bother to take notice of us. And that takes time, energy and effort. It’s obnoxious and exhausting at times. But it’s also fun. I LOVE commenting on friends posts and interacting.
Another secret (or not-so-secret) I’m an extrovert. 90% of writers are gasping right now, since I’m in the 10% of writers that aren’t introverts. Yeah, I love being around people, and since my job as a SAHM prevents me from doing that, I’m able to connect to others around me through social media. It’s a blessing and a curse.
Here’s the thing about reading. I am reading every day, all the time. It’s just not fiction. And I know this is important, but it always gets put on the back burner. Right now I’m currently reading two books, both of which I started weeks ago. The Gifting by Kate Ganshert, and Wisdom and Folly by Michele Harper. They are both excellent books that I’m enjoying very much, but I’m sooooo slooooow at reading at this point in my life.
It hasn’t always been that way. I used to gobble down books in my youth so fast I couldn’t keep up with myself. It was crazy. I literally fought with my friends in the library about who got to read what first. We LOVED books with a passion. It was a beautiful time in my life. Fiction, fiction everywhere. I would read silly little, easy stories like The Babysitters Club and Sweet Valley Kids/Twins. I would read the classics, The Little Princess and The Secret Garden. Occasionally I would even delve into actual smart literature like Number the Stars by award winning author Louis Lowry and The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyal by award winning author Avi.
Once I hit the teen years, my reading tastes became more…well, not something I’m super proud of. I loved, loved, loved the Flowers in the Attic series. But they were also very naughty at times. (If only mom had known!) I read and reread those over and over. My reading obsession waned the further into my teen years I went. I developed new obsessions. Mainly music, exercise and boys. Yup. I was that girl. *hangs head in shame.
When I got married and started having babies at the sweet young age of eighteen, I quickly dug back into reading. Only this time, it was all non-fiction. I was determined to be the best wife and mommy I could be, and I tore up the pages trying to figure it all out.
This new life left little time for luxury reading (fiction/entertainment books). I read for pure learning purposes. I only briefly gave in to my need for a good entertaining book once in a great while. I remember picking up that first Christian romance. Ooo-la-la. I didn’t even know books like that existed! Then I had my ‘Amish phase’ and read every Beverly Lewis book under the sun. I found an author on a whim at the library who I fell deeply in love with. Right next to the Jane Austin books, Lynn Austin. An amazing Christian fiction writer of historical fiction. I HIGHLY recommend her books. I also found joy in reading about Jesus and Biblical times through Bodie and Brock Theone’s biblical historical books. My husband and I had a period where we whipped though their multiple series, sharing books and competing who could read through them faster.
Then life got busy. And I stopped reading. For a while. Once in a blue moon I would pick up a book and it would light a spark going off in my brain. Oh, I should read you. That would be good. Let’s try that sometime. But a lot of times I left it at that. Now, I have most of my books on my phone kindle. And there are a ton! My TBR list is enormous. And intimidating. And sometimes it’s so big I don’t even want to try. And to top that off, I recently learned that my library sells used YA books for only $0.50! So naturally since I write YA, and I should be taking the time to read YA, I go in frequently and clean out the shelves. It’s awesome. And they sit. In my house, in a pile. Unread. It’s kind of depressing. They sit there, mocking me. Taunting me.
I have another confession on top of that doozy. I didn’t know who Dr. Who was until recently.
Ok, so I write YA Speculative. I’ve immersed myself in “Spekkies” over the last year, trying to infiltrate their awesome world, delving deeper into the land of awesome nerdiness/geek culture. I have never enjoyed hard core Sci-Fi. Never have. Never will. Science bores the snot out of me. But I do enjoy Fantasy, dystopian and the occasional Faerie Tale Retelling. I always thought of myself as a huge nerd. But when I’m ‘around’ all these speculative writers, I realize, my nerdiness factor could use a major boost.
I have always been in love with Narnia. I hate LOTR. (PLEASE don’t hate me!!!) I couldn’t even get through the first few pages because it bored me so much. (My son, on the other hand, has read the entire series four times over, go figure.) I have always loved and adored everything Star Trek, I even had a Star Trek themed birthday party. I have never read Harry Potter (Ok, now you really hate me). I tried the first chapter and it just didn’t suck me in. And of course, I plan on taking my sons to the theater as soon as the new Star Wars movie comes out. But I don’t even know what it’s called.
So I like it all, but I’m not invested.
I didn’t know who Dr. Who was (literally Dr. Who???), until my husband started watching it. (Sorry to rat you out there, honey!) I will never be a Whovian. It’s ok, and we’re still working through the series. But I’m not into creepy, scary, ugly looking creatures or aliens for that matter. I don’t understand most of it. I like it. But I’m not in love.
I tried Firefly, the first episode, I had to struggle through the first fifteen minutes. It BORED me to death. I didn’t like it or connect to anything. Then six months later, when I realized I couldn’t possibly be a speculative author without seeing this sacred show, attempted to watch it again. This time, I started on the second episode. And I was hooked. I loved it so much. By the end of watching it on Netflix, I bought the whole season at Walmart. (I AIM TO MISBEHAVE -‘cause you know- Walmart. *hangs head in shame again) And my husband ordered the movie for me. I am now an official browncoat. But this stuff doesn’t come naturally to me. I have to work at it. I want to fit in. But I don’t want to be fake either.
So now you know. The truth is out. This Speculative YA writer is not obsessively shoveling down the books. She is not as big of a nerd as she needs to be to make it in this world of writerly-spekkie-awesomeness. But I’m working on it. One Tardis, one Serenity spaceship at a time.
-Writer, Deanna Fugett