Greetings, my fellow followers.
We’re entering the last three months of the year. The holiday season is upon us, which means we’ll be bombarded with ads and family time and longer work hours. As such, writing time is going to be scarcer. So let us treasure the moments we have to get the words onto the page. But as you enter the homestretch, I want you all to take a moment to read my entry for the Insecure Writer’s Support Group.
For those who are new to my page, on the first Wednesday of every month, hundreds of writers share moments of our writing journey to others to encourage them to keep writing. To know they are not alone in their struggles. Thanks to this month’s co-hosts: Ronel Janse Van Vuuren, Mary Aalgaard, Madeline Mora-Summonte, and Ellen @ The Cynical Sailor.
Here is this month’s question:
It’s been said that the benefits of becoming a writer who does not read is that all your ideas are new and original. Everything you do is an extension of yourself, instead of a mixture of you and another author. On the other hand, how can you expect other people to want your writing, if you don’t enjoy reading? What are your thoughts?
Talk about timing. I replied to a tweet a week or so ago on this very topic. Basically, I said I wasn’t currently reading anything. Recently, I read a tweet from someone who wanted to dedicate October to reading books she saved on her list. Not a bad idea. I have a Want-to-Read list myself. It is rather minuscule and it certainly needs updating to reflect my changes in taste.
I haven’t heard about the benefits of being able to write when you don’t read. Most advice I’ve received about reading in correlation to writing contradicts whatever advantages one possesses from not reading. Stephen King said it best in his book, On Writing.
“If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all others: read a lot and write a lot.”
Sometimes, I think that’s why I don’t write as much; it’s because I’m not reading as much. A part of me feels reading is boring. (Hey, I’m calling it for what it is.) I don’t find books interesting these days. But I think the reason why is that I’ve allowed myself to become entranced by TV shows, movies, video games, etc. I have to see things acted out in order to understand what’s happening. But that’s no reason to not engage in books. Books are just as important, if not more.
Another shred of honesty: I’m very close-minded about the genre I read in. I feel since I’m a Contemporary writer, I “should” be reading Contemporary Fiction. The thing about reading—and writing—genre fiction is that there’s no rule against reading or writing something that’s not in your realm of expertise. If anything, I think some will encourage reading and writing in multiple genres. There are lessons that I can apply to my writing, no matter the genre.
And there is the notion that there are no original stories left. And I tend to agree. I can probably find thousands of books with similar storylines, character archetypes, and themes. Knowing that, I can take something different away from said stories and craft one unique to me.
So, how can I expect other people to want my writing if I don’t enjoy reading? For me, it’s impossible. The results from my writing will show. I don’t think the reason why I don’t enjoy reading has anything to do with what’s out there. It boils down to keeping an open mind. Allow myself to be immersed in s book, no matter the genre. And I shouldn’t read just to learn from others, but also because I will get a lot out of reading.
What about you? What are your thoughts about reading a/ it relates to writing? Let me know in the comments.
Until next time …