Sunday, January 16, 2011

Non-fiction continues to win...

I've found that one of the best things for recharging fiction writers is nonfiction reading.

After all, while you should read books and watch movies and all that stuff, sometimes seeing someone else's work is... draining? discouraging? "darn, why didn't I think of something that brilliant?"

It happens to me all the time. Sometimes, when I want to be recharging, instead, I am being drained.

For instance, I just recently re-watched Princess Tutu (and you all thought I was done with that), just to sort of fill up my inspiration meter for my hedgehog story (and because I was making my little sister watch it with me). I was expecting to come out feeling invigorated and excited.

Instead, I felt horrible.

It was just so much better than what I was writing. It moved along, had great characters, was beautifully animated, yadda yadda yadda. It was better than my stuff.

While that didn't come as a surprise at all, it did sort of hit me hard for some reason. (Not that I regret re-watching it. .)

So instead, I picked me up some nonfiction. Namely, a true crime book entitled Satan's Circus, about Charley Becker, a cop executed for murder. It's gritty, it's historical, I've only read about ten pages and it has nothing to do with anything I'm working on right now, but it makes me want to write.

I think it has to do with burnout. Sometimes, even when you love something, too much of it is just sickening. Take chocolate for example. A bar of it is great. Ten boxes has you hunched over a toilet and never wanting to see a cocoa bean again in your life.

Fiction is awesome. I love it. It's what I want to do with my life. It is what I do with my life. But sometimes it gets to be a little much, so diving into something else for a short while can be refreshing. Checking out a documentary. Going to a museum. Reading about something like quantum physics for dummies or whaling. It's just so different that I don't have to worry about making it fit into what I'm doing.

Anything you guys do in particular to recharge your writing batteries?


  1. I read other genres to recharge, too. That and listen to lots of music. Music always does it for me.

  2. True that in regards to music. I almost always listen to music when I'm writing if I can get it.

    Though, sometimes I run into the same strange sort of draining effect when I listen to a particularly brilliant piece of music, which is weird, since I'm not musically inclined myself and thus you would think it would be far enough removed from writing not to affect me the way fiction does. But apparently not.