My book club has been reading The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern which without doubt is one of my favourite books. I read it last year and absolutely loved it. It took me a while to get into it and then I was so awed by the style and beauty of the story, it catches you up and spirits you away to a magical world.
When we decided to read it I was delighted to get a second chance to immerse myself in the world and to retrace the complexly woven plot. It didn't disappoint, it was even better than I remembered. Great right?
Yes and no. It was a treat to re-enter the world; but this time I was reading it with the awareness that right now I'm working on my own novel and that gave it a different feel. I was suddenly aware of how slick and well written it was. How everything was there for a reason and that so much was said with very few words - a skill I'm trying to learn.
I have to admit my self-belief has taken a little bit of a battering and it wasn't until I started reading Becoming a Writer, by Dorothea Brande that I realised I wasn't the only one to feel like this. That actually reading a book you love can give you writers block and self-editing syndrome. Brande goes on to say that some books inspire you, they motivate and encourage you to write, while others leave you wondering why you started this wretched process called writing in the first place.
So while I love The Night Circus, it is going back on my shelf until I've finished my own novel, when I look forward to taking it down and enjoying it once more.
Claire Wade is the winner of the Good Housekeeping Novel Competition and author of The Choice. She was bed bound for six years with severe ME, trapped in a body that wouldn't do what she wanted. She now writes about women who want to break free from the constraints of their lives, a subject she's deeply familiar with.