Fact or fiction?

I am a bookworm (probably not a massive surprise!).

Reading fiction

I love to read fiction. Or maybe a more accurate description would be inhaling words??? Once I choose and start a book, more than likely I’ll be chomping at the bit to finish it.

Page-turners. Adventures, thrillers, science fiction, contemporary literature of the dilemma variety (goodness knows what the genre is actually called). Unless I’ve chosen a dud or it’s exceptionally long, I get through most stories in about a week of bedtime reading sessions.

Reading in the late evening, quite frankly there are only a few brain cells working at that time of night. Somehow a fiction book relaxes and transport me off to another world.

I have heard that you shouldn’t read at night because it stimulates the brain, but I haven’t found that. In fact if I don’t read I find it hard to switch off from the events of the day. Reading has been my ‘go to’ escapism exercise, from a very young age.

There have been times I haven’t read as many books (small babies, work or study). And because I know how absorbed I can get in reading I don’t usually go straight from one book into another, although I look forward to holidays when that’s ‘allowed’ ;-).

English literature at school opened my eyes to the idea of ‘hidden’ symbolism in stories, but I also just wanted make up my own mind about meanings. To enjoy fiction for what it gave to me.

Reading ‘fact’

But I have a non-fiction reading pile that has at least 10 books in it. (I’m not actually counting because that will depress me!). I have found them through recommendation, or discovery for my leaning and self-growth. And it’s not going down!

A non-fiction book seems a chunky, clunky and quite frankly sometimes oppressive prospect. I really struggle with academic texts, although some non-fiction books with storytelling type narratives are a lot easier to read.

When I have tried to read non-fiction in bed I literally only manage a couple of paragraphs before I need to re-read passages or my eyes start to close. So non-fiction is relegated to the day, but my opportunities are of the short and sweet variety; blogs, news articles.

The only way I have found to get any of it read is to set aside 10 minutes in the morning to read a short section. I also assimilate ideas through the burgeoning online catalogue of podcasts and videos, which I can fit into a few minutes here or there.


Writing both

The irony is that I find writing neither fiction nor ‘fact’ easy. Both have proven to be struggle for me at times (although that doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy it!). I find myself swinging between both, in terms of what I feel compelled to write. But I end up with unfinished writing, the bane of my life!

I want to write those stories that suck you in. I want to write the narrative and lessons of life that can show how to live a more contentedly. I have to work out how to make my writing do that better. And work out what I can leave behind in the process.

Moving forwards

I know I need to re-evaluate how I’m doing my writing too, to help me achieve my writing goals. Theoretically I know ways to make it easier, more productive, but I don’t seem to apply them though.

I know I need to use the snippets of time that I do have rather than long for lengthy periods that are practically non-existent.

I know that for both forms of writing I have to get better at planning what I’m going to write, rather than just turning up and hoping (which can work well at times, but be utterly rubbish at others).

I know that I need to write and move on, rather than spend too much time ‘fussing’.

I want to enjoy the writing process more. Which means I need to get on top of these aspects of the process so that I can.

I thought this post might turn out to be about whether I should just stick to one type of writing or the other. What with time pressure it is (VERY) tricky to do both. But I know I want to. Even if I’m giving myself a mountain to climb.

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7 Comments Add yours

  1. Tara says:

    I like reading fiction before bed, sometimes what I’m reading turns up in my dreams (I try not to read horror last thing at night). As for writing, I find it very hard switching between fact and fiction (I interviewed an author with lots of successful books under his belt and he said the same) so you’re not alone. I guess needs must though.

  2. Tracy says:

    I have a mixture of fact and fiction on my bedside table. Most days I have at least one of each on the go which I pick up when the mood takes me. Sometimes I’m in the mood to learn, others I want some escapism.

  3. I like writing up to 2000 words in a chunk or post for my blog because it feels manageable. I don’t write any fact anymore apart from the odd bio (which I don’t like writing) fiction seems to be engaging to write and read these days. I always like your blog imagery, did you do the fact or fiction pic? #whatimwriting

  4. suz says:

    I love to read fiction but only read fact when I’m researching something in particular. Fact is definitely not bedtime reading for me.
    Good luck figuring out a balance between the two in your precious writing time.

  5. maddy@writingbubble says:

    I love (LOVE) reading fiction and I enjoy some factual books too – like the happiness one or the introvert one I’m reading now. I also find reading before sleep relaxes me though if I can’t put the book down it can definitely result in a late night! As for writing, I’m constantly torn between different styles, eg picture books vs limericks vs novel. Thankfully writing not fiction doesn’t really appeal to me (apart from blogging) as that would a whole other thing! I think we just have to keep on going and trying to use our time the best way we can. Thanks for linking to #WhatImWriting xxx

  6. I don’t read nearly as much as I’d like to at the moment, and in fact most of my reading is dominated by fact – but almost always in the small chunks of articles/blogs. I am yearning for the escapism of a novel though, so I need to rectify that very soon! X

  7. I get a lot of my non-fiction through podcasts nowadays, but still read the odd non-fiction book (and I’m even thinking about writing one…) But I have to say it’s fiction I can’t live without.

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