Testimony of a Book Addict

They say there are two parts of being a writer: One is you take the time to sit down and actually write something, no matter how bad it comes out on your first attempt. The other is reading books, whether it be for pleasure, to get ideas for the genre you want to publish in and so on. But, there is something that comes along with being an avid reader and writer.

Becoming a self-proclaimed book addict.

You’re probably reading this and thinking, “OK Kristin, how does being a book addict fit into the two parts of being a writer?” Simple, to be a writer, you have to read quite a bit and that includes trying to keep up as best you can with the current bestsellers and books by your favorite authors. This also means keeping track of what sells in the publishing industry.

I started to think about this more after spotting an article from Publishers Weekly on my Twitter feed earlier this week. The article is titled “The Wonderful and Terrible Habit of Buying Too Many Books.” Even though the article was published back in 2012, it still rang true for me as I read it (I’ve enclosed a link to the article at the end of this post). For me, two things draw me to buying a book: the cover and the premise. After that, I’m sold and buy the book. I mean, I do go to the library to check out books too…but I see more and more how many times I buy books.I used to joke to friends I had about 30 books on my shelf, that was the average.

Then I went to college. The bookstores in downtown Northampton that were my sanctuaries for browsing from stressful days or to be alone for a few hours became deathtraps as I started to take my writing more seriously and regain my confidence again. So as my final semester of college ended, seeing the numerous books that would add to the ones back at my house…I knew I would have to cut back. So I requested no books for my birthday this year. Maybe even Christmas if I make it that far, but that’s not the point.

But even when I try to cut back, I still fall in that hole and more books are added. My collection has become almost twice the amount, and that’s not counting the writing reference books on my desk! :O

Plus, even when you make a wish list on Amazon…you still add in the books you’ve been waiting months upon months for. Plus, when you add more books, you don’t have a chance to read them right away because you’ve started a few already!! Right now, I have three books I’m reading: Rachel Hauck’s latest novel The Wedding Chapel, Jennifer Rodewald’s Reclaimed and Katie Ganshert’s award-winning novel A Broken Kind of Beautiful, which I FINALLY got after spending months in Barnes and Noble  finding it not in stock! Plus, I FINALLY just finished Francine Rivers’ (having the same last name is mere coincidence) A Lineage of Grace. Also, my Mom recently told me about this website about Bookbub to find free and discounted ebooks. Blame me if you add these books or website to the list!! O:D

Thanks to the discovery of Bookbub, I got two free ebooks. The struggle continues. But at the same time, it’s fun to explore new genres and books to add to the collection!

So readers, what do you do when you find yourself amid an ever growing pile of books? Do you try to maintain control? Or do you still give in? Leave a comment with your stories!

Publishers Weekly Article “The Wonderful and Terrible Habit of Too Many Books”

Also, what are your thoughts on the 2012 article from Publishers Weekly? Does this ring true for you four years later, or have your habits changed since?


Back in the Saddle and Why I’m Here

My Writing Books, including story collections for inspiration and references
It’s hard sometimes to return to writing after a dry spell. For those reading this post, you will receive a first look as to why I wanted to start a writing blog and my experiences returning to the craft and starting to integrate a routine in my everyday life.

I lost my confidence as a writer during the fall semester of my senior year of college. Creatively and academically I got very self-conscious about my thoughts and ideas, stalling the creative flow altogether.

It was the emptiest feeling I ever had in my life. Not being able to tap in to your craft, let your passion come out on the various topics of interest for classes and creatively made me feel so numb and lost. You feel like a part of yourself is missing or buried under your doubts, fears and anxieties about how great your ideas are, or how amazing your writing is.It wasn’t the first time either. During my first two years of college, I really questioned a lot if I really wanted to write or if I was making a mistake. I always read a lot and creative writing courses helped me keep the flow going. But, the Internet, school, life and more took over and my work was neglected. Books I bought collected dust on my shelves and writing folders and notebooks weren’t acknowledged.

When I lost my confidence, it was like a wake up call. I really had to decide and realize what was more important as a writer: the craft or everything else in my life that took away from that. Plus, advice from professors and connections I’ve made helped me give some perspective. Smith College’s English Department holds these talks called Literary Lunches every semester, and the ones I attended my final semester helped me find my confidence again, as well as receive great tips from current authors! Fiction Writer in Residence Ruth Ozeki, in response to my question about holding on to your confidence and faith suggested this: go to a section in a library (your genre, such as fiction, poetry etc) and look at the names of every award-winning author there, flip through some books  and remember they have gone through the same struggles that you have: fear, doubt, loss of confidence and faith.

That piece of advice has stayed with me ever since I graduated.

That’s why I’m writing this blog. This is me going back in the saddle after a number of months. Taking a chance, now that I’ve finished college and have the world open before me to embrace and enhance where my passion goes next. I actually wanted to do a blog a few years ago, but again life distracted me. It was thanks to a blog from someone else I started following I felt a spark, and I began to create this blog.

Today is promising. I worked on a short story for a writing contest I recently entered and realized what time is best for me to sit down and write. It’s a good start, the key is to always keep it going.

So take time, a few minutes or just an hour a day, looking for helpful writing books. Don’t just look for books pertaining to your genre or type of writing (they are still just as helpful for your writing niche). Look for books giving you tips to keep your craft going, to unleash your authenticity and confidence and so on.

Here are two examples:

A Writer’s Guide to Perseverance by Jordan Rosenfeld (can be found on Amazon and Writer’s Digest Shop)

Writing with Quiet Hands: How to Shape Your Writing to Resonate with Readers by Paula Munier (Amazon and Writer’s Digest Shop)

What are your stories about losing your confidence? How did you overcome the dry spells? Leave your stories in comments!

Also, any fellow bloggers out there, leave suggestions for improving the site!!