Sunday 17 November 2013

Can Reading Novels Effect Your Productivity?

It is no secret that I have been far less productive writing wise since I finished putting together my collection, but I am pleased to say that that while I am still not prolific I have started writing poetry again - phew! I had put my lack of productivity down to various things - the fact that I put so much effort into getting the work finished by my Arts Council deadline, the fact that I wrote so much new material whilst I was working with my mentor, the all but demise of my regular workshopping group, even the possibility that once the collection was finished and I no longer had deadlines that I wasn't as motivated to write. All of these reasons may in part be true, but this week another reason also occurred to me.

I am in the Readers Circle reading books for potential inclusion in next years's Writers' Centre Norwich Summer reads programme, which means that as well as reading poetry I have also been reading a lot of short story collections and novels. Whilst reading (good) poetry and short stories often leaves me feeling inspired to write, I find that I reading a novel rarely, if ever, has the same effect - even if it is an outstanding read. I am not sure why this is - it may be because novels are so immersive - they draw you into another world, and create a reality that we believe is real while we are reading. Or it may be that the novel just works on a different area of the brain to poetry or art, but whatever the reason it seems likely that the amount of novel reading I have been doing during the last couple of months may have a direct correlation with my decreased productivity in the poetry writing department. It will be interesting to see of my urge to write increases after the programme is finished in January.