I pursued a career in publishing because I love books. Not just like books. Not just enjoy them on occasion. I’m talking make-you-late-to-work-and-miss-half-your-family-vacation-with-nose-in-the-pages kind of love. LOVE.
So I pursued this career with enthusiasm. Worked endless unpaid hours as an intern. Took classes. Volunteered for every single extra opportunity. Attended conferences. And it has brought me to today, where I get to work on my own list of books, with my own list of clients! (*swoon*)
But here’s the thing.
Once you work in publishing, there is a certain amount of guilt that comes with the territory (and this includes writers, too!). And I’m talking about reading guilt.
You may or may not have read a post I wrote years ago for Colleen Lindsay’s blog on Reader’s Block, which amazingly still gets pinged to this day. It’s my only post to do so for so long, and the only reason I can guess as to why is because not enough people are talking about Reader’s Block, but there are definitely people feeling it.
The guilt. The deprivation. The reader’s block.
Because reading was such an enjoyable process for me, it feels like a reward. And before I worked in this business, I had a lot more free time on my hands to reward myself with a good book.
Then I did the impossible thing…I got a job where I can READ FOR A CAREER! YAY OF ALL YAYS!
And it really is a YAY (exclamation point!).
But this is the first job I’ve had that doesn’t get left at the office. In fact, it’s not only brought home with me, but half of it’s done outside of the office. And the work-reading piles up.
I always thought I was a fairly quick reader, but it turns out I’m not in this business. I’m also supremely stubborn about skimming. I don’t like to do it. I want to read the details! Authors spend so much time working and reworking their sentences…the heart is in those details. Why would I want to skim?
But because of all of this, what gets put on the backburner is the reward. That book you’ve been eying. The guilt starts creeping in. And you start to justify this deprivation to yourself by saying that you ARE reading, and you should be grateful that you work on books for a living.
Well, I’m here to tell you to cut the crap.
Nothing puts your job into perspective better than a good book that IS NOT one you’ve worked on. This applies whether you’re a writer, an agent, an editor, a reviewer, etc. In order to keep yourself grounded, you need to know what else is out there. In order to push yourself as a writer or publishing professional, you need to go outside your norm and try something new. In order to give your mind a BREAK from work, you need to fall completely into another world and get swept away. Not only will this give your mind a break…but it will inspire you!
You must do this if you want to work in this business. Or you will reach burn out.
So I challenge you all to something new. That’s right…I said CHALLENGE. (We all know how competitive us book peoples can be!)
For the month of June, turn off your writer/editor/professional reader brain for at least 3 hours a day. Instead, use those 3 hours to read that book on your nightstand you’ve been dying to pick up. Then why not the one underneath it? Or to do something yourself for just YOU.
I declare June National Avoid Reader’s Block Month! Or NARB for those in the know. (It’s also National Safety Month, and I feel this is appropriate.)
This gives you a month to prepare…get into the mindset. SPREAD THE WORD.
And this is the first book I’m reading come NARB:
What’s on your NARB list?
(Wouldn’t it be crazy if NARB became, like…a thing??? Whatever. Just read!)