Five Things I’ve Learnt From Getting Back Into Reading Regularly

As regular readers of this site probably know, I got back into reading regularly about a month and a half before writing this article. This followed a 2-3 year period where I only read infrequently at most (seriously, I’ve read more novels in the past two months than I have in the past two years).

So, I thought that I’d write about some of the things that I’ve learnt from getting back into reading regularly. I’ll also try to avoid repeating anything that I’ve written in previous reading-related articles too.

1) Modern books are actually good: When I was a teenager during the ’00s, I considered it a point of pride that I mostly read old novels from the 1960s-90s. Ok, this was mostly because these were easy (and cheap) to find second-hand. But, I liked to think that there was something inherently better about older books. Kind of like how older computer and video games are faster, cheaper, more challenging/enjoyable and more honest (eg: no micro-transactions etc..) than modern “AAA” games are.

Yes, of course, I also read a few modern books and I also read some modern novels during my twenties too. So, it isn’t like I haven’t read anything modern but, for quite a while, I thought that old books were better than new ones.

Yet, when I recently got back into reading regularly, I’ve actually found myself reading more modern (21st century) books than older books. Yes, I still try to read a mixture of old and new, but I’ve found myself drawn more towards books from the past two decades or so. This really caught me by surprise. And there are a few unexpected reasons for this.

These include things like the fact that the narration in modern books is a lot more streamlined and readable (albeit at the cost of some distinctiveness/descriptive depth), the fact that modern stories will often be a lot more gripping (since they have to compete with games, boxsets, the internet etc.. for people’s attention), the fact that modern stories tend to contain fewer dated elements, the fact that modern paperbacks (eg: from the 2000s and early 2010s) can now be found cheaply second-hand etc…

In short, modern books are actually good. Ok, old books can also be really good too. But, modern books are better than you might think if you’ve mostly read older books.

2) Don’t get too used to one author:
When I first got back into reading regularly, I literally just read Clive Cussler novels. But, after reading about eight of them within a couple of weeks, I suddenly found myself setting a rule that I wouldn’t read two books by the same author in a row. Yes, I’ll still read multiple novels by the same author, but I try to read other books in between each one. But, why?

There are several reasons for this. The first is that even the best writers can get tiresome if you read too many of their books in a relatively short space of time. After binge-reading eight Clive Cussler novels, I haven’t read a single one since. Every time I’ve thought about it, I’ve just thought “oh god, more of the same…“. So, variety is the spice of life. If you want one of your favourite authors to remain interesting, then read other authors too.

Secondly, it makes you better at reading. Although it can be tempting to find an author you love and settle into reading lots of their books, the relaxing ease that comes from getting too used to one writer’s narrative style can really come back to bite you when you run out of books by that author and have to read something different. Reading different authors regularly means that you have to constantly adapt to different narrative styles, which means that – after a bit of practice- you’ll find reading different books easier than you might do if you just stick to one or two authors.

Thirdly, reading lots of different authors means that you get to see one of the strengths of the written word. In other words, seeing how lots of different people tell stories shows you how much of a “personality” books have when compared to films, TV shows, videogames etc… It shows you that books are one of the most human forms of creativity out there.

3) Let books win you back: Although reading is often seen as some kind of “sophisticated” activity that is better than watching films, playing games etc.., you’ve got to actually find this out for yourself. Seriously, don’t just treat it as received wisdom. You won’t really know whether it is true until you put it to the test.

In other words, have a basis for comparison. One of the good side-effects of watching lots of TV shows/films, playing lots of games etc.. during the 2-3 years when I didn’t read many novels was that – when I returned to reading regularly – I could quite literally feel the difference. Books not only had that immersive feeling that I’d sought so hard in games and TV shows, but they were also cheaper and more gripping too. Likewise, I was delighted when I found that an old book like Dashiell Hammett’s “The Maltese Falcon” could be just as atmospheric as a brilliant film like “Blade Runner“.

Yes, I’ll still play games (in fact, there will probably be a “Doom II” level review posted here tomorrow) and watch TV shows, because these are fun things too. But, after getting back into reading regularly, I’ve found myself feeling less drawn to these things than I was a couple of years ago. Seriously, after reading a few novels, I watched an episode of a familiar detective TV show and found the story, characters etc… to be a lot more “shallow” than I expected. So, the lesson here is to let books win you back. Read books that you enjoy and you’ll find that they’re as good as, or better than, other forms of entertainment.

4) Books are less “edgy” these days: One interesting thing that I’ve noticed about the more modern books that I’ve read since I got back into reading regularly is that they’re often a bit less “edgy” than older books from the 1970s-90s can often be.

For example, a 2010s horror thriller novel like Jocyelnn Drake’s amazing “Wait For Dusk” might still be noticeably steamier and more gruesome than the average Hollywood horror movie but, compared to an old 1980s horror thriller novel like Shaun Hutson’s “Erebus” or a 1990s horror novel like Poppy Z. Brite’s “Exquisite Corpse”, it’s relatively tame.

Yet, this isn’t quite the bad thing that I’d feared that it might be. The slight decline in edginess in modern books usually just means that writers have to rely on more sophisticated things than “shock value” to hold the reader’s interest. This usually results in deeper and more gripping stories.

Likewise, the fact that film/TV censorship has thankfully become more relaxed during the past couple of decades means that modern books don’t have to be edgy in order to set themselves apart from film/TV. Whilst this may sound like it’s a bad thing for books, it just means that the “edgy” elements of modern books carry more dramatic weight because they stand out more when compared to their more frequent/intensive use in older novels.

5) Don’t judge a book by it’s cover:
Ok, this is a really obvious one, but I have been reminded of the wisdom of this old saying at least once or twice since I got back into reading regularly.

For example, the novel that I mentioned earlier – “Wait For Dusk” by Jocelynn Drake – has some mildly salacious cover art that makes it look like the kind of novel that is best read in private. Yet, aside from about 5-10 pages, the cover art doesn’t reflect the actual story. For the most part, the novel is this brilliantly gripping and complex horror thriller story that is kind of like a mixture of “Underworld” and “Game Of Thrones”, but way better! Yet, if you just glanced at the cover art, you’d probably mistakenly think “it’s an *ahem*… adult… novel” and miss out on a brilliant story.

So, yes, choose your books based on the genre, the blurb, the author, multiple reviews etc… rather than the cover art. Because, even during the 2010s, cover art can sometimes tell a very different story to the book that it’s attached to.

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Anyway, I hope that this was interesting 🙂

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Today’s Art (2nd January 2019)

Well, after all of the fun I had making yesterday’s painting, I felt like making another heavy-metal themed painting. And, although this digitally-edited painting (which, again, also includes digital lighting effects) ended up being less detailed than I’d originally planned, I still quite like how it turned out 🙂

As usual, this painting is released under a Creative Commons BY-NC-ND licence.

“Metal Summoning” By C. A. Brown

Three More Tips For Reading More This Year

Although I loathe and despise the idea of “new year’s resolutions”, I unintentionally made one last year (and, yes, I write these articles quite far in advance) when I suddenly started to get back into reading regularly (after 2-3 years of infrequent reading) a day or so after New Year’s Day. Which, incidentally, is why several book reviews have been appearing here over the past month or two.

And, although I’ve already written about how to get back into reading regularly, I thought that I’d offer a few extra tips for reading more this year if you’re interested in doing so.

1) Challenges and scores: In the other article, I talked about intrinsic motivation (eg: make sure you actually want to read more) and following your instincts when choosing books (eg: read what you enjoy). Even if your instincts lead you to different things than you used to read, follow them nonetheless.

For example, when I got back into reading a month or two before I wrote this article, I ended up blazing my way through about eight thriller novels by Clive Cussler (and various co-writers) before I returned to my more traditional mixture of sci-fi, horror, thriller and detective novels. I wanted to read gripping thriller novels, so I started by reading a few of these before my tastes returned to normal. These thriller novels were the thing that got me interested in reading again. So, follow your instincts!

But, expanding on this, another way to get intrinsic motivation is to set yourself challenges, keep score of how many books you’ve read etc… Although this may sound petty or pointless, keeping score or challenging yourself to finish a particular book within a particular number of days (be realistic though) can be really useful for building intrinsic motivation.

In short, keeping score means that you feel proud of yourself and challenging yourself to read quickly means that you not only keep reading but it also means that you can start reading new books more regularly too.

2) Keep a book nearby: This one is really obvious, but it’s worth mentioning. Simply put, keep your book nearby! Put it somewhere where it is easy to get to and can be picked up at a moment’s notice. Or, if you can, try to put it somewhere that you normally associate with entertainment too.

For example, after I got back into reading regularly, I put my current book next to my computer in the same way that I ususally did with the DVD boxset I was watching at any particular time. Not only did this mean that the book was easy to get to, but it also meant that I ended up thinking of reading in a similar way to binge-watching watching a DVD boxset. This then led me to think of books as being more like a cheaper, more immersive and more reliable equivalent of a DVD boxset, which made them seem more appealing to me.

Likewise, make sure that you’ve already worked out what you’re going to read next before you finish your current book. You can always change your mind if you find a more interesting book in the meantime, but having an idea of what you’re going to read next means that you won’t be frozen by indecision or put off reading the next book.

3) It gets easier: Although reading regularly might seem like a bit of an effort at first, it gets easier! So, keep at it!

This change in difficulty can happen in an interesting way – if you keep reading books by the same author (like I did with Clive Cussler novels), then you’ll get used to the writer’s style and will eventually think “I want something a bit different” or “I want something more challenging“.

This will probably lead to you reading something different and, if it’s a bit older or more complex, you’ll feel like you’re back to square one again. I mean, I was feeling fairly confident about breezing my way through Clive Cussler novels… then, after a couple of other books, I read “The Diamond Age” by Neal Stephenson. Needless to say, the novel’s complex narration made me feel like I was reading at half my normal speed. But, I stuck at it. And, soon, I was reading it more quickly again. And that isn’t even the best part…

When I returned to reading horror, thriller etc.. novels, I found that my experiences with grappling with more complex narration meant that I was able to read these novels even more quickly. It’s kind of a bit like gaining experience points in an old role playing game or like how a bodybuilder builds their muscles or something like that.

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Anyway, I hope that this was useful 🙂

What To Expect Here In 2019

Happy New Year everyone 🙂 Since I prepare stuff for this blog quite far in advance, I thought that I’d talk about what you can expect to see here this year. And, yes, there will be some differences – although some of them may not be that much of a surprise if you’ve seen my DeviantART gallery (which is a couple of months ahead of the art posts on here, due to scheduling reasons) or read the comics index page on this site.

So, what can you expect in 2019?

Better lighting, five months of realistic landscapes and shorter comics: Although at least couple of paintings with digital lighting effects (created in this open-source program) have appeared here this year, expect it to not only become a more regular thing next year – but also expect more refined lighting effects too, since I realised that the program’s “airbrush” feature can be also be used to create lighting effects. Here’s a preview of one of the best upcoming paintings to use this technique:

This is a reduced-size preview. The full-size painting will be posted here on the 5th October 2019

On the other hand, from about mid-late January to mid-late June, expect to see pretty much nothing but “realistic” landscape art on here (with monthly comics and a couple of infrequent sci-fi paintings too). Some of these are better than others, but here’s a preview of one of the better ones:

This is a reduced-size preview, the full-size artwork will be posted here on the 5th April 2019.

This happened for a number of reasons – not only was I experimenting with photography, but thanks to things like preparing some of the short stories I posted here in early-mid 2018, other experiments with writing (at the time of writing, this consists of one and a half failed novels and a failed novella I won’t post here) and getting used to doing all of the reading for the regular book reviews, I didn’t feel that I had the time to make my usual art during these five months. So, photo-based paintings (which are paradoxically quicker to make) were a way to keep making art during these busy months.

Still, after feeling that I was losing what made me interested in art at the first place, I went back to making my more traditional sci-fi/gothic/retro etc.. art from mid-late June onwards, with photo-based paintings becoming an occasional thing that will appear for a couple of days every week or three. However, due to time contstraints, expect quite a few of these “traditional” paintings to be a little more rushed or less detailed.

Likewise, although I’ll still be posting monthly comics for at least the first eleven months of 2019 (still not sure about December), it’s been a bit touch-and-go with the time constraints. So, expect slightly shorter 2-4 comic mini series every month and, in some of them, slightly simpler art and/or bizarre art experiments (like using photos for backgrounds). Sorry about this, but it was pretty much the only way I could keep making monthly comics. Still, there will be the usual narrative Halloween comic in October, albeit at a shorter length of 6-7 pages.

Expect the full 6-7 page comic here in late October 🙂

Writing- based articles: With all of the book reviews appearing here (I’ve prepared a total of about 157, and counting, at the time of writing) and the writing experiments I’ve mentioned earlier, expect the daily articles that appear here in between book reviews to be a lot more focused on writing than on art.

Although I miss writing art-related articles, and there will be a few of them, one of the things with writing regular blog articles is that you often have to work with the source material that you have. In other words, since I’ve been focusing a lot more on reading fiction and writing it, it’s a lot easier to write about writing than it is to write about art (which, whilst I’m still making it, isn’t something I can always devote as much time/effort/imagination to as I did when preparing 2017 and 2018’s art).

Still, given that I’ve neglected writing-based articles a little bit in this year’s articles and, given that they were originally planned to be the main type of article when I started this blog in 2013, it’s kind of like a return to something a bit more traditional I guess.

Game reviews and a modern PC (November onwards): With the exception of the monthly “Doom II” WAD reviews (some traditions are sacred!), all of the reading etc… I’ve been doing has meant that I’ve had a lot less time for gaming. So, for most of the year, there won’t really be any game reviews – except for a review of “Resident Evil 3” in May.

However, about two or three weeks before I prepared this post, I ended up getting a vaguely modern refurbished PC. But, most of the articles for this year were prepared when I was using my trusty old mid-2000s computer, a fact referenced in several of the pre-written articles etc… appearing here from January to November (I’ll try to update them if I get the chance, but if I forget, then this is why).

Of course, I wanted to put this modern refurbished PC it through it’s paces – not to mention that, after abandoning it for quite a few months, I really missed gaming too. So, expect occasional modern game reviews from November onwards.

Yes, these probably won’t be “AAA” games (since I’m still using the computer’s integrated graphics, not to mention that some “AAA” games can only be bought from sites that use always-online DRM – which I’m wary of after Steam’s recent middle finger to users of older PCs, a category I belonged to less than a month ago).

But, so far, I’ve prepared reviews of two “AA” indie games ( a 1990s-themed “walking simulator” game called “Gone Home” and a 3D platformer called “Skylar & Plux: Adventure On Clover Island”). And I may or may not review the 2013 remake of “Shadow Warrior” (although I’ve had problems taking screenshots) and possibly a survival horror game from 2018 called “Remothered: Tormented Fathers” (if I can work up the courage and/or be lucky enough to get past the first segment of the game).

Book reviews will hopefully still appear in between these game reviews, although I’ve had to use a few sneaky tricks – such as focusing more on shorter and/or fast-paced novels and using the vast stack of pre-written articles to take occasional days off from preparing them without affecting the daily posting schedule. Still, I hope to keep reading for as long as possible. Still, expect more game-related stuff from November onwards.

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So, yes, 2019 will be a bit of a different year. Still, thanks for reading and I hope you enjoy all of the stuff that will be appearing here 🙂

What Books Can Do That Other Entertainment Mediums Can’t – A Ramble

Well, since I seem to have read more within the past month than I did in the entire year before, I thought that I’d offer some random thoughts about books. In particular, I thought that I’d talk about something that suddenly occurred to me whilst I was reading the thriller novel I reviewed yesterday.

Unlike literally any other entertainment medium, books are an intimate and collaborative medium. It is literally just you and the author. They provide a description of their most interesting daydreams, and you have to use your own imagination to turn this into something you’ll enjoy. It’s like spending time with an old friend, or an interesting stranger. No two meetings are exactly alike. Every meeting between an author’s words and a new reader will be very slightly different.

Not only that, both of you control the pace at which the story travels. The author can write in a way that is meant to be read quickly or slowly, but it is the reader who determines how long the story takes to read. Whether a book is read in short instalments or explored in long deep dives up to the reader. Unlike films, books don’t have running times, because it’s up to the author and each individual reader to determine the “running time” themselves.

Unlike every other entertainment medium, a book is a bit like the Vulcan mind meld from “Star Trek”. Unlike watching most films or playing most games, it almost feels like you’re having some kind of a relationship with a book. For a few hours or days, it becomes part of your everyday life and part of your mind. It’s cover art becomes something you see regularly and the story becomes something that follows you around for a while.

Even if you only remember a few random scenes or impressions several years later, each book that you’ve read becomes a part of your life in a way that no other entertainment medium can quite achieve. Because you’ve spent the time with a book and because you and the author have come up with a unique “version” of the story, there’s something personal about remembering a book that you just don’t get with other entertainment mediums that are the same for every viewer or player. Because of this, books linger in the memory like nothing else, often mingling with the memories of the time and place you read them.

Even the corniest horror novel, the most generic of romances or the most textbook of thriller novels will do this. I mean, I still remember random scenes and moods from the only two “Mills & Boon” books that I’ve ever read, even if I can’t remember their titles or character names. I could also tell you where I read each one and the years that I read them (2006 and 2009/10).

Likewise, even though it’s been quite a while since I last read a decent horror novel, I can still vividly remember being too creeped out by Shaun Hutson’s “Shadows” to keep reading. I can also still remember the car journey (of all things) during the holiday when I read Hutson’s “Spawn”. Or parts of the holiday home where I read Hutson’s “Heathen”.

Even though it was about a decade and a half ago, I can still remember reading James Herbert’s “Domain” (a second-hand copy with a shiny cover from an indoor market stall in Bath) in my bedroom with aghast bleakness and morbid fascination whilst I listened to HIM’s “Love Metal” album on my CD player. I could go on for a while, but books linger in the memory in a way that nothing else does.

Then there’s the obscurity. Unless you’re reading something really famous, there’s a good chance that the books you read are ones that the people around you either haven’t heard of or haven’t read. Books usually don’t really have the popularity of major films or “AAA” games. And yet this just adds to the sense of intimacy and humanity that other entertainment mediums can only dream of.

Reading a book, even by a reasonably well-known author, feels like you’ve stepped into another world. Like you’ve stepped into a hidden part of the surrounding culture that is rarely mentioned in newspapers or on TV. That probably isn’t referenced humourously in the way that films are. Like you’ve stepped outside of popular culture and found that there’s a lot more than you expected. That, for every blockbuster franchise in the cinemas, there are literally hundreds of equally spectacular franchises hiding on the shelves of bookshops. It’s like seeing another world.

I could go on for a while, but I’ll leave you with this. All of this stuff comes from an entertainment medium that doesn’t require electricity, that can be left lying on a shelf for literally decades and still “work” perfectly, and which can often only cost a small amount. It’s practically magic!

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Anyway, I hope that this was interesting 🙂

Four Tips For Getting Back Into Reading Regularly

Although I’ve written about the benefits of having read a lot in the past, I’ve been going through a phase where I’m getting back into reading regularly again (hence this book review yesterday).

I also thought that I’d write about reading regularly because I suddenly realised that – aside from the novel I reviewed yesterday- I’d only read four or five books during the previous year. This was practically nothing compared to late 2009/mid-2010 (where, by my count, I must have read at least 12-15 novels, if not more). And even this is probably a small number in comparison to the amount I was reading per year 10-15 years ago.

Yet, after I read the book I reviewed yesterday, I felt something. Even though I had mixed opinons about the book itself, I felt refreshed after reading it. Like having a long sleep or something like that. And my reaction was something like “Ah, I remember this! It’s been too long!

So, how can you get back into reading regularly?

1) Enjoy it: You aren’t going to feel motivated to read more if you start by reading books that you don’t enjoy. So, go for the books that really grab your interest or which seem relaxing in some way or another. These might be different to what you used to read regularly, and they might be a little bit “low-brow”. But, it doesn’t matter.

The whole point is to remind yourself of why you enjoy reading. I mean, I always used to enjoy sci-fi, detective and horror novels (with maybe the occasional thriller too). But, when I got back into reading recently, it was thriller novels that did the job. They’re books that grab your attention and refuse to let go. They make you want to come back for more. They’re like an emergency boot disk for a malfunctioning computer or something like that. So, the thing that gets you back into reading might not be the thing you expect.

One idea that tends to get bandied about is that, these days, books have to compete with the internet, TV shows, computer games etc.. And, this is true – they do. But, this isn’t the bad thing that some people make it out to be.

It just means that you have to find a book that is good enough to compete with these other things. And, this is easier than you might think. After all, there is no shortage of gripping thriller, detective, romance, horror etc.. novels out there. So, choose a genre that intrigues you and keep browsing until a book really grabs your attention.

Your time is a precious resource, and a book needs to be worthy of it (even if there’s more competition these days ). So, don’t be afraid to be discerning or to follow your instincts. The important thing is to look at lots of books. The more you do this, the higher chance there will be one that will insist that you read it. And, after that one, you might want to read another. Then another….

2) Don’t try to analyse too much: Unless you’re working out concrete ways to get back into reading, don’t get too hung up on why you moved away from books. Not only will this make you feel disappointed or guilty, but it can also allow you to come up with excuses for reading less.

Just find the most interesting novel that you can and try to read the first chapter. If it doesn’t grab you and make you want to read more, then find another book and try the same thing. Keep going until you find one that makes you want to read more.

Nostalgia is a bit of a double-edged sword here though. Sometimes the feeling of “I should read more” can translate to “I wish I was younger again“. The trick to dealing with this is to focus on recapturing the feeling of reading more (kind of a subtle relaxing, meditative, immersive etc.. kind of feeling) rather than the memories of the times when you read more. One is an emotion that can be achieved again, the other is part of the past (that, until someone invents time travel, can’t be revisited fully).

3) Think about it differently: A lot of the trouble these days is that reading is often seen as some kind of puritanical, virtuous exercise. And, if you’re the kind of person who loves things like “clean eating”, self-righteous lecturing, 5am jogging, digital detoxes etc… then this is great for you. But, what do you do if you’re a sensible person who believes that life should actually be enjoyed?

The easiest way to get over the pretentious puritanical nonsense that is associated with reading these days is to think about reading in a way that makes it seem “cool” to you.

Think about it like experiencing the best form of “virtual reality” ever invented. Think about it like rebelling against crappy modern Hollywood superhero movies. Think of it like hanging out with a cool author for a few hours. Think of it like binge-watching an entire TV series (the two things can feel very similar, if you’ve found a good book or an excellent TV series). I could probably go on for a while.

Just think of it in a way that makes it seem “cool” and appealing to you. For example, this was why I read so much when I was younger. Since film censorship was a little bit stricter when I was a teenager and since there were times when I didn’t look old enough to bluff my way into “18 rated” horror films at the cinema or buy them on video/DVD, reading old second-hand splatterpunk novels, “controversial” novels etc… was my way of rebelling against patronising official film censorship. It felt really cool and, as such, I read a lot (and kept doing so for quite a while after I turned 17/18).

So, find a way of thinking about reading which makes it feel like a really cool thing to do.

4) Physical books: Ok, I might sound a little bit old-fashioned here – but physical books (rather than E-books) are the best thing to use when getting back into reading.

This is mostly because physical books will probably remind you of the times you really enjoyed reading. After all, your first experiences of reading for enjoyment were probably with good, solid, physical books. E-books are, after all, a relatively recent invention.

Your joyous memories of reading will probably be associated with things like the act of turning pages, the distinctive aromas of old and new books, the satisfying weight of holding an actual book and a whole host of other things that you don’t get with text on a screen.

Plus, if you’ve spent a fair part of the day staring at a computer screen, then looking at a traditional printed page can be a good way to take a break from this whilst still having the enjoyable experience of reading text. Because, well, reading text is fun. I mean, why do you think that the internet is still a thing?

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Anyway, I hope that this was useful 🙂

Three Tips For Enjoying “Boring” Films, TV Shows, Games etc..

One of the interesting things that I’ve noticed over the past decade or two is that I’ve gradually become more interested in creative works that I would have considered “boring” when I was younger.

Whether it’s the deliberately slow pacing of modern films/TV shows like “Blade Runner 2049” and the 2017 “Twin Peaks” TV series (which I got on DVD as a Christmas present last year), whether it’s slower-paced games in the “point and click” genre etc… I’ve found that things I’d once have considered “boring” are much more interesting than they might initially seem.

But, how can you learn to enjoy creative works like this? Here are a few tips.

1) Work out why it is “boring”: Simply put, good “boring” creative works are slow-paced or uneventful for a good reason.

This is either because it gives the audience time to think about what is happening or because it gives the audience time to appreciate things like the atmosphere, visual elements, the characters etc..

A “boring” slow pace could also be there for the sake of emotional contrast, suspense or something like that. Kind of like how music sounds more dramatic because it also contains silence as well as noise.

Likewise, boredom can be used to add a sense of realism to a creative work. After all, everyday life is a boring, humdrum thing most of the time.

Artists, writers, directors, game developers etc… will sometimes include some of this boredom in order to show that their story is a more realistic (and immersive) one. Once you see it this way, then “boring” scenes can be a lot more understandable.

But, whatever the reason, there is probably a good reason for why a creative work is “boring”. If you can remember this, then you’ll enjoy these things more.

2) Read more: Although I don’t read nearly as much as I used to [Edit: No prizes for guessing what I rediscovered a week or so after preparing this article. Expect regular book reviews to start later this month], one of the things that changed my attitude towards “boring” creative works was reading a lot when I was a teenager.

But, why does reading matter? Simply put, reading gently gets you used to stories being told at a slightly slower pace.

Even the most fast-paced thriller novel still needs to take the time to introduce the characters and the premise. It’ll tell a more complex story than the average movie. It’ll be something that will demand that you spend 4-6 hours reading it. And, you’ll probably enjoy it. So, reading more (even in more fast-paced genres) is a great way to get used to slower-paced films, games etc…

3) Remember, it’s about the journey: One important thing to remember about “boring” creative works is that the most important part often isn’t the story, but everything else. I’m talking about things like the atmosphere, the narrative voice, the visual style, the underlying ideas etc…

In other words, these things are more about the journey than the destination.

A good cinematic example is probably the first “Blade Runner” film. The basic story of this film is just a simple detective thriller story. But that isn’t what makes it a brilliant film.

It’s a brilliant film because of the fact that it takes place in an intriguingly mysterious futuristic world which also looks stunningly beautiful too. It’s a brilliant film because of the fact that you notice something new about it every time you see it. It’s a brilliant film because of all of the thematic/philosophical/moral complexity hiding behind the simple story. I could go on for hours, but it’s a brilliant film because of everything other than the basic story.

In short, if you find a creative work to be “boring”, then try focusing on something other than the story. The story the creative work is telling might not be the main reason why it was made.

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Anyway, I hope that this was useful 🙂