Monday, June 16, 2014

From Loft to Library

You know how there are some things in life that need six other jobs doing before you can do the one that really needs doing … well, I’ve just started doing one of those.  The house needs re-wiring, which means the electricians have said they’ll need access to the wiring ducting in the loft, which means we have to declutter the loft, which means we have to go through everything and sort out what really needs retaining and what should have been chucked nearly twenty years ago when we first moved here, which means I’m having to make a tough decision about the vast numbers of books I have up there.

It’s quite frightening the number of books writers acquire over the years. But then, writers have to be avid readers. How else can we learn our craft? By reading the work of writers we admire we learn how they write. We absorb the way they phrase things, the way they reveal information, their style and their choice of words. 

Likewise, when we read a writer’s work whose text does not gel with us, we still examine it to find out why (albeit sub-consciosly). What is it that we don’t enjoy? Is it their choice of language, the length of their sentences/paragraphs, or the way they punctuate their work? We learn just as much how NOT to do something as we do on how to DO something, when we read other writers’ works.

Going through the books I had in the loft has forced me to be selective. I only have room for a handful in storage (and I am only referring to the books I have in storage in the loft - not the hundreds in my study!) and that’s been an interesting exercise: choosing which books to retain.  For example, when I come across an author I like, I often buy several of their books. In this exercise I’ve only kept the books that have had the greatest impact upon me - great story, great story-telling technique. Then there are the books with sentimental value. The concise dictionary and the beginners book on photography are not used now (it’s a bigger dictionary on my shelf and more specialist photographic books) but these two books were given to me at a school prize giving (they have so much to answer for!).

Some decisions were easy though. It appears on more than one occasion I have bought the same book twice! I hope the author appreciated the royalties!

Still, with the decision made I then sorted the books in paperbacks and hardbacks. The paperbacks (4 boxes worth) went off to the local charity shop. The hardbacks (because they are more durable) have gone to the local library service. At least that way the authors may earn a few more pennies from PLR.

Once we’re re-wired then there’s nothing stopping me putting more books in the loft, which means I’ll be able to go out and buy some more  

Good luck!