What a darling question! And thanks of course for the requisite offering of Cheez-Its.
Here’s the thing you have to understand about me: I love a good story. The medium is less important. But if I had to describe my personality in one sentence or less, I would say “I fucking love a good goddamn story.” Books are my first love, but I also enjoy movies, TV shows, comic books, webseries, poems, songs, theater, drunken campfire stories, my dad’s old army stories, you name it.
And no matter the medium, the art of storytelling is remarkably changeless. There are always certain elements that define a good story, certain markers of effective writing/performing/creating which are transferrable between art forms. So I can (and sometimes do) examine movies with my trained editor’s eye.
My college roommate was a film major, and watching movies and TV shows with her was routinely interrupted by her criticizing the lighting or the camerawork. The habit was both enlightening and annoying, which I told her. She, in turn, suggested that I could be less critical of other people’s reading choices. What we took away from this discussion was that it was important to separate our professional selves from our personal selves as much as possible, given our professions.
So when I’m reading a book for pleasure, I’m usually not gauging its worthiness as a piece of writing. I’m not keeping a mental note of the author’s shortcomings or quibbling over their pacing. I’m just reading… as any non-editor would. Same goes for when I’m consuming a story in any other medium: if I’m off the clock, I’m primarily just enjoying myself.
Now, that’s not to say I’m completely unaware of the flaws in what I’m reading/watching. Far from it. Sometimes a story is done so poorly that it actively takes away from my enjoyment. And that’s hard to ignore. And of course, sometimes it’s fun to critically examine the stories we enjoy! It’s definitely possible to enjoy a story, and then turn on the critic later.
I love a good story, no matter the medium, and my Editor Mode has an on-off switch. :)