I’m a very competitive person and since I was in my teens, I often viewed the literary works of others as a possible threat to my success unless the authors were already long dead. Why I thought this is, even now, a bit of a mystery to me. Maybe it was just because I didn’t want anyone to do what I did too or something along those lines… Either way, I didn’t do a lot of reading in my mid teens which is when I did the most of my writing until my early 20s. Recently, however, the tides have changed and reading the works of others gets me even more excited to continue with my own.
I finished Octavia Butler’s Kindred this evening since I got to one of those points where I’ve only got about 50 pages left and I just can’t put it down until I finished. It was a good book, but her ending, like with Fledgling, left me staring at the last few words like “That’s it??!?” I’m always wanting more.
Since I’ve got a cycle going where I’m reading a Star Wars book, a more contemporary book and then a classic book, I’ve replaced Kindred with the first of The Hunger Games books, which has already garnered me a few likes on Facebook.
I love starting new books like I love creating new book ideas. No longer do I consider the works of others to be in competition with me. No longer do I fear losing my voice or finding myself writing in the style of a favorite author. Now, I view other literature as a chance to see how someone else “does it” and not only do I then get to enjoy someone else’s story, I get to become a stronger writer in the process.