3 Reasons I Want to Read Slowly


A while back, I was obsessed with learning to speed-read. I tried all these iPhone apps that supposedly help you read faster. I timed myself whenever I opened a book. I gave up on those weird apps almost at once, but over time did learn to speed-read.

Though I’m not the fastest reader I know, I surprise people with how quickly I can finish a book. In many ways, it is a useful skill. However, sometimes I have to slow down and enjoy the novel I’m reading, word-by-word.

It’s an exercise of patience, but when I’m reading a good book, it’s not too hard. Sometimes you love a book so much, you don’t want it to end.

We’re not all the same, and things might be different for you, but here are my motivators for learning the art of reading slowly:

1, I want to remember more. One of my favorite things about reading is when I can remember a story long after finishing it. If I can’t do that, I don’t feel that I’ve gotten all I could from the book.

2. Magic survives into reality. Everyone knows that crash that comes after closing a good book, the shock when all the magic is gone and we are back in real life. When I speed-read a novel, the crash comes faster. If I take the time to better experience the adventure, it isn’t so hard–magic follows me.

3. It improves my writing. When I read slowly, I’m able to pick up tricks the author used. I learn new words, get swept away in description, and put away plot bunnies to work on later. My writing is improved in ways I don’t realize until I work on my own projects again.

I’m not saying you shouldn’t speed-read; we’re all different when we write stories, as well as when we read them. In the end, there is no right or wrong way to enjoy a book. As long as it takes you to another world, the rest is just preference.

How fast do you read? Do you enjoy a story more when you read quickly, or take your time? Maybe you do both—let me know in the comments!

Dealing with Manuscript Fright

manuscript fright

Writing a book is one of the most difficult things in the world. Having just finished a novel this week, I feel like it’s the most difficult thing.

Even now that I have an almost-complete draft, putting it away for a month remains a challenge. My mind won’t settle; it keeps insisting that I have one more change to make, a change that can’t wait until my hiatus ends.

To make matters worse, Serenade is a sequel. I have to check the first book, Dissonance, to make sure I don’t publish a sequel with contradictions. Because I’ve spent the last six months editing my work, I can’t even seem to get through my first novel without correcting each sentence, and it’s already published!

Over time, our writing styles change. I don’t hate my writing, though—it’s more complicated than that. Sometimes I come across lovely passages and surprise myself, thinking, “Did I write that?” Other times, I struggle with the impulse to rewrite and edit everything.

In theory, I could rewrite everything—it’s a benefit of being an indie author. That doesn’t make it the right choice, because no matter how many times I rewrite a novel, I will never be satisfied with my own work.

If you’re a writer, you probably won’t be, either. Most writers struggle to recognize our own talent, because we are always comparing ourselves to other authors. It’s a wall we can’t get past.

My voice will never be like Bestselling Author #1. My imagery will never be lyrical like that of Bestselling Author #2. I’d like to forget the feeling that they’re so much more talented than me, but my brain won’t allow it.

The only way to get better at my craft is to practice, ignoring those thoughts.

I keep writing, even though I never feel good enough. I keep writing, even though I can’t see my own progress. I keep writing, because I have stories to tell. I may not be poignant as Bestselling Author #3 now, but I’ll never improve if I give up.

Besides, those bestsellers I compare myself to struggle with this, as well. Most writers are haunted by the very same conflict. In the end, it’s our choice—will we let the ghosts silence us, or will we continue on the storyteller’s journey?

I’ve made my decision. It’s your turn.