When dealing with stories and poems I like to say that I have two mindsets. I have my writer mind and my reader mind.
With my writer mind, I can create. This is the mindset I use when I’m writing stories and poems. It is the mindset that helps me to put words together in a pleasing format.
The writer mind is also the mindset that I use when I’m editing and revising my writing. This mindset focuses on the words and how they fit together. It catches grammar and spelling errors. It makes me stop when I come across awkward phrasing and plot holes.
When I want to improve my writing, I rely heavily on my writer mind. However, when I want to enjoy a story or poem, I need to turn off my writer mind. At that point, I need to use my reader mind.
This is the mindset that allows me to relax and enjoy a story. With the reader mind, I don’t worry about phrasing or spelling. This mindset only notices problems when they are very obvious(1). When I’m not focusing on how it was written, I can focus on enjoying what I am reading.
What about you? Can you separate your writing and reading? Do you have a special ritual you have to do to switch from writer to reader? Or do you find yourself thinking about the writing when you pick up a book?
(1) When stories have no paragraphs and writers fail to use a basic spell-check, even my reader mind has to stop reading.