Why I Can’t Read Just One Book At A Time…….

As much as I’d like to power through Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird and read her long expected sequel Go Set a Watchman, I can’t. There are books, like Harper Lee’s, that I need to take my time with.

One of my all time favorite books (Indiscreet by Candace Camp) was one that took me years to finish because I kept having to re-read the beginning. I’d read a few chapters, have to stop for a few days, weeks, months, etc. and then I’d have to go back a few pages (at times a few hundred) to remind myself of the little details. Reading this book took even longer than usual because at one point I lost the paperback copy of my novel in a move. When I wanted to read the book again I had to rack my brain for any memory of the book title and author (which I had forgotten). I scoured the internet with the few specific details I had of the story I could remember: carriages, romance, spies, England. I, through the help of unseen forces, eventually found the book and bought it as an eBook version.

I didn’t find it important to finish Indiscreet right away. For that specific book, I didn’t see how an immediate release from the story would be enjoyable. So, whenever I needed a “break” from Indiscreet, I’d put the book down and read something else.

Right now I’m reading 13 different books at the same time. Some of them I will probably have to start over (a fact I have grown to accept) but I don’t really mind because this is how I find reading enjoyable. I love choosing what I can read. Binding myself to one novel at a time makes me sweat with commitment issues. It’s not that I’m not in love, it’s just that I’m not always mentally prepared to read Twilight.

There will always be books that will catch my attention and hold it until I am 100% finished. There will also be other books that I need to take it slow with. Books that I need to foster before I bond with them. The same goes for my writing.

I love writing fiction. Fiction lets me explore parts of life that I can’t exactly live out. I can imagine and be whoever I want in fiction. The problem is, I don’t always fall in love right away with every story I write. I usually have at least 5 different story lines going on. Little Angela with her books, Worker 1-1-3 trapped in a dystopian society, Jessica dealing with anxiety, Jacob mending a broken heart. My characters are all there, waiting for me to finish what I’ve started. They stand on edge hoping I’ll finish their stories and give them enough resolution to form cohesive endings to their lives.

Yet, like my tendency to sway from book to book instead of cover to cover, I can’t always go back to Jacob, or Jessica. I can’t always think up solutions to my character’s problems.

So…I wait.

I sit on my ideas and dabble here and there. I write lines on post it notes and go back to them when I’m ready. Like many other writers, my issue isn’t necessarily coming up with the idea of a story, my issue is finishing.


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