Sunday, September 30, 2012

Book Binge

by Maggie Marr

I do this thing--which compared to other types of behaviors I guess isn't really too destructive. I binge read. For hours. Days. I have a super-human ability to forego all but the most necessary of human and familial needs. I can plop my tush down in the midst of the messiest of houses (mine--my house) and read.

Recently I've read the following:

The Monkey's Raincoat by Robert Crais

Stalking The Angel by Robert Crais

The First Rule by Robert Crais

The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka

Lord of Misrule by Jaimy Gordon

also throw into the mix four screenplays.

All within 7 days.

This is the thing, I have discovered that I often binge read to avoid something--usually a transition from one thing to another. Because, for me, reading has always been a good thing. My ability to read for hours was praised in my childhood and was of great benefit to me as an attorney, an agent, and also as an author. Therefore this binge, as are all my book binges, is cloaked in propriety.

However there is a deeper darker side.

I am nearly finished with a manuscript. A manuscript that I have fundamentally changed countless times. A manuscript that I have edited longer and in more depth than anything I've ever written before. A manuscript in which my writer-creative self is fundamentally invested.

And I am scared as hell.

I don't want to let go. I don't want to send these pages to my editor. I don't want to fail because failure is f**king painful--especially after you've invested so much time, tears, and (hopefully) talent into a project.

I have 30 pages left and one final read. That's about 7 days of work--and how long have I been binge reading--about 7 days. So, yes, I know what I'm doing and I know why I'm doing it. Now I need to stop reading and get back to work.

I have three more chapters left to read in the book I am currently using as my roadblock on the transition from unfinished manuscript to finished manuscript--I will finish this book tonight. I am hopeful that Monday morning I will begin to write again.

Maggie Marr is an attorney and author. She wrote Hollywood Girls Club, Secrets of The Hollywood Girls Club, and Can't Buy Me Love. Her latest book Courting Trouble will (fingers crossed) release October 2012. She also writes for tv. Maggie lives in Los Angeles.


  1. I hear you, Maggie! Your reasons for avoidance are perfectly understandable. But I am impressed by your method: binge reading sounds like the perfect counterweight to "send commitment." I do the same exact thing, but my avoidance methods involve far more primal activities. You know when something is done or due around here if the refrigerator sparkles and soup could be served from the toilet!

    So, personally, I give you credit! You never know what you might come across in your procrastination reads that sparks a tweak of motivation a character needed or tiniest of detail that led to an uber-perfected scene.The theory will only work for me should I pen something using Merry Maids as the plot line!

    I'd be willing to wager that your manuscript will be a rousing success, and that you will be be that much better read for it!

  2. I, also, can plop my tush down in the messiest of houses (mine) and read for hours. Love this post!

  3. Maggie,

    I hope you did manage to write this Monday.

    It's also hard for me let a piece go, because when it still belongs just to me, it shimmers with all kinds of possibilities. Out in the world, who knows? But I'm betting on your success! May it exceed your wildest expectations.

    1. I love that! "shimmers with all kinds of possibilities. Out in the world, who knows?" So true.

  4. Books can be so many things, can't they? Therapists, teachers, 'roadblocks', sleep aids, and simple, pure entertainment. Can't think of a better way to procrastinate!

  5. This is really funny. I would give anything to read more and I'm ALWAYS struggling to catch up on New Yorker magazines, but books are a luxury. I realize that I am suddenly in the middle of a very long book and I think after reading your piece it dawned on me that I am procrastinating my next step because I have a few promising, yet confusing options on where to go next.
    Thanks for making me think about this. Nice post

  6. I WANT to binge read really bad!!! Every time I sit down to read, I think, "You should be writing or doing research for your book (or emptying the dishwasher). Ugh!!! I'll keep trying.