I am not one of those writers who wanted to write all of their lives. I’ve heard some say they knew what they wanted to do, that they poured out stories at a young age.
I did very little writing young, though I remembered writing a play for my class in 3rd grade (I believe it was about an Easter bunny). And, apart from the few required creative writing assignments in school, I didn’t write at all. I took up the mantel of writing a few years ago.
Now READING, I’ve taken very seriously my whole life. When I was little, I prompted my mom to read to me all the time. Bedtime stories were one of my favorite things. Once I learned to read on my own (the first book being Dr. Seuss), my mom could hardly drag me out of the library. And I spent many a days staying up late to finish a book, even on school nights when I was supposed to be asleep.
I went to college for music education. Before I attended college, I loved listening to classical music. Since college, it has taken me a very long time to enjoy it again. For in the study of music, I found myself taking a musical score, tearing it apart, analyzing it, and labeling it. Instead of just listening to it, I had to study each note and section. I had to write down the notes by just listening to it. I wasn’t so good at it either, and I found the process stressful and hated it.
We were also required to listen to peer performed recitals, week after week. It was called recital hour (or nap hour, to those of us who had to hear). Even to this day, I don’t relish attending classical concerts or ensembles. My college experience ruined it for me. Because of the intensity of study in music, it influenced my love of the art. To this day, I don’t love music like I used to do.
Since I’ve become a writer, it has affected my reading somewhat as well. The books I loved before, I can now see the flaws. Heck, I think I even enjoyed BAD writing before I learned the tricks of the trade. I can’t say that writing had made me turn from books the same way that studying music made me turn. But writing HAS made me much more discerning and judgmental on what I read. Now, I find myself not just falling into the writer’s world. I look at how they created it. If I enjoy a section, I try and figure out the “why”. Like I did in college, I sometimes take it apart and analyze it.
Writing has changed me.
Reading has now become more of a LOVE/HATE relationship. I can no longer enjoy a story if the writing is bad (like I used to be able to do). But, unlike my training in music, I still LOVE to read (for the most part). Even if I HATE the badly written books, becoming a writer has made me LOVE the good books all the more.
The Emissary (Coming Dec 2013 from Month 9 Books)
By: Kristal Shaff
A seventeen-year-old must defeat an ageless king and his powerful army in order to save their land from a cloud of darkness that threatens to destroy him, and those like him, who possess one of six deadly powers.