In the world of semi-automatic firearms, when a pistol or rifle fails to move a round into the chamber properly, causing a malfunction, we call this a “failure to feed.”
Not to be confused with my cat Iris, who, if I fail to feed when her dish is empty, will whack me alongside the head when I pass the kitty condo.
But I digress. Failing to feed has consequences.
I’ve blogged about this topic before, but sometimes, as a writer, I have this instinctual need to read, and if I ignore it, my creativity suffers. But there is always the “time thing.” I have a job, I have kids, a dog and the Wife Unit who loves to play video games with me (how awesome is that? It’s awesome, I tell you). There are so many hours in the day, and I when I get tired, I go to bed.
I never suffer from writer’s block (anymore), but yet again, I’ve caught myself slowing down in my editing and writing.
That is, until I increased my reading. It was fuel to the fire.
I love books. Sometimes, even bad ones are inspirational. I just finished a book, from a much respected author, and the ending was so terrible. So very bad. We’re talking I will probably never buy another one of his books without reading a review again, and I have every single one of his hard covers in my library.
But it had value, to me, as a writer. Creative value. It fed the mechanical side of the narrative, sacrificing the entertainment. Indeed, if I wasn’t a writer, I would have stopped reading right when I saw The Big Lazy Cop-Out.
But this book fed me. It made me think about the mechanics of storytelling and how vital the contract with the reader is. There are many ways I draw inspiration, I will never lack it, but the core of my literary soul is a book in my hands and a good story, and failing that, inspiration to not fail in the same way.
Feed me Seymour!