In most cases, a person's love of reading is what inspires them to write. At least, I know that's what happened to me. My whole life, I've loved books with an intensity I don't even feel toward most people (should I have said that out loud?).
Anyway, I noticed a change in the way I looked at books once I started writing, and here it is in a nutshell: ignorance is bliss.
Before I started writing, I could read a book and decide whether or not I liked it based on simplistic factors: did I enjoy the story? Were the characters likable? Did I get a clear picture of the people and setting? Is it something I'd read again?
Back then, I never would've found myself thinking, holy crap, how did this author's editor not make her change all these passive verbs?! Or, holy info dump! Or, this character's voice is way too adult for a teenager! Or, gee, could this plot be more cliche or formulaic?!
Nope. Because back then, I didn't know a passive verb from a preposition, and voice was just the thing that came out of my mouth when I talked.
Attempting to write my own novels changed all that. I kind of miss being able to look at a story through naive eyes and take it at face value. Because the more I learn the ropes, the harsher a critic I become. And, the harder it becomes to not compare my own work to published work, and wonder what I'm doing wrong.
Does this happen to any of you? Is it harder to enjoy a story for the sake of the story, now that you know the rules for writing one?