Endorphin High

baredancersToday, as is my usual pattern on Thursdays, I went to the local YMCA for a Nia class. Now, sometimes I take the class, and sometimes I teach it; today was the latter. An hour later, I left the dance studio not by walking, but by FLYING. I was on such an endorphin high. I bounced in my car seat as I listened to the radio on the way home, and burbled happily about various things to my working-at-home husband before I came down to my office, and plowed through my emails.

Why am I telling you this, you may ask? Is it just to make you envy my awesome good mood? Hell no! Would I do that to you?

I’m bringing it up because I think reading can do the same thing for writers. Finishing a great book that gets your brain firing on all cylinders can be a fantastic jump start for your own work.

There’s many reasons why I suggest serious writers who want to be published authors should read a lot, but this is another great reason — it’s inspiring! Sure, sometimes you finish a book and think, “Well, I can do better,” and that’s one kind of inspiration. But this is the more positive kind, and so, I like it better. What can I say — I’m an optimist!

Finishing a novel where you fall in love with the romantic hero can and should make you want to get back to your computer, to your own romantic lead. Is he as drool-worthy, heart-thumpingly interesting? If not, how can you bring him up to the high standard set by your recent read? Is your heroine as smart, as cunning, as cluelessly oblivious… until she isn’t? Read other author’s books to improve your own!

I just finished reading Welcome to Bordertown, the anthology edited by Holly Black and Ellen Kushner, and I loved it. Rexroth got rather annoyed with me — I kept interrupting his own reading to read him something aloud, or just to sob quietly in his office. Halfway through the last story, everyone was so happy I wanted to stop reading, so they would stay that way. Will your characters inspire a reader to do the same? To want to keep them safe?

What books have you read that have produced that endorphin high for you as a writer? Share your faves in the comments!

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