Thursday, March 1, 2012

Reading to perfection

A person often says "I've wanted to be a writer myself, I just don't have the time," when you've shared with them that you, in fact, are a writer.

There is this misconception that writers have ALL THE TIME in the world. You, as a writer, know this is the farthest from the truth. Somehow we've just been given a gift of multi-tasking. However, that is not the topic I'm discussing today.

I'm discussing the next thing that said person would follow with, "How do you even begin to write a novel?" Now, as a newbie writer I was asking myself the same question. It was by change that I found Blue Willow Bookshop and attended SEVERAL book signings to find that the answer remained the same throughout all the authors.

You read, and then you write. Every one of them devoured books in the name of research. I took read each morsel for fun, but if I could read for fun AND call it research, wouldn't that be brilliant?

I picked up women's fiction, suspense, dystopian, adult, young adult, the works. Each piece I read was even more delectable then the last. I read until words spoke to me, characters started to form, a story erupted.

To gain more inspiration I read Stephen Kings, On Writing. He brought me more to life than ever... two things still resonate to this day.

One: Only you can decide when to truly call yourself a writer. Is it the day you put pen to paper, complete a novel, or become published? It's your call, after all, you're the one in the driver seat.

Two: First write for yourself, then write for the world.

I'm paraphrasing, but what I wrote is what I carry with me. I called myself a writer the day I finished a rough draft of my first novel. When I feel frustrated in a novel and realize I'm trying to keep up with the tides of publishing, I stop myself just to remind me that I'm not writing for me.

Question... what do you like to read? By chance is it the same thing you like to write? READING is the key to perfection. Opening up each page in your genre is what gets you to understand the inner workings of that said genre. Writing isn't easy... if it was, everyone would do it.

We are a special sadistic breed that simply cannot help harbor those feelings to be on the verge of insanity. We revel in it, love it when we're on a high, and loathe it when we're on a low. We don't give up just because a character had to be killed off, or because an agent told us that we should go back to the drawing board. No, we spent time perfecting our pieces and one persons opinion must be weighed on a scale.

Just remember... the beginning is to read, to devour, to simply get lost in the story.

17 comments:

Lindsay N. Currie said...

I love to read. I truly enjoy YA literature and read mostly that, which is also what I write. And yup - I agree with you. If writing was easy, everyone would do it. And the satisfaction would be a lot lower when you finally did succeed:)

Em-Musing said...

King's 'On Writing' inspired me also. He firmly believes writers need to read. Every time I feel guilty for reading too much, I hear King in my head.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Write for yourself and then write for the world - hey, I did that!

Laura Marcella said...

Wonderful wonderful post, Jen! I think writers are people who write. Whether it's for publication or just for fun, writers write!

Shannon O'Donnell said...

Yes, yes, yes! And I love ON WRITING--such a great book! :-)

S.P. Bowers said...

We MAKE time for the things we really want to do. You can tell a lot about a person by how they spend their time.

I'm a big reader. Before I started writing and had to cut down on my reading time I think I averaged around 300 books a year. As a writer I do find it harder to get lost in the story because craft sticks out so much. It's a compliment when I can do that and not wonder about or want to change some craft issue in the book. Am I terrible?

Angela Brown said...

Well, you're on point with this post, of course.

I love to read fantasy, sci-fi, paranormal, YA and some adult stuff within those same genre veins. I love to write that same stuff. I just love it. I sometimes wish I write to beat a trend to market, but I can only write what I love.

Amy L. Sonnichsen said...

I love to read, too! I do read a lot of contemporary YA, because that's what I write, but I try to read outside that box occasionally, too. For instance, right now I'm reading PD James's DEATH COMES TO PEMBERLEY because I love a good murder mystery. :)

Btw, I just posted my review of SNOWBOUND HEARTS on my blog. I really enjoyed reading it. Thank you so much for the opportunity!

Caitlin said...

Reading is definitely the beginning to writing! I think a love for the art of storytelling can truly be born through just reading, and everything else can just go from there.

Laura Pauling said...

Yes, I definitely like to write what I like to read. Though that is a wide selection but I decided to write what I constantly love the most. :)

Creepy Query Girl said...

really important points to keep in mind. I know I'm a writer. It's a part of who I am. But I don't often share it with people I meet just because I feel like I've got nothing to 'show' for it yet, kwim? Writing for yourself first is SO important. Great post!

Meredith said...

I love reading as research! It's so wonderful to get lost in a good story and come away a better writer for it.

Jai Joshi said...

I like to read everything, which is probably why I like to write lots of different genres. And I agree that the beginning of every writer's journey is when they start to read.

Jai

Indigo said...

We become readers before we become writers.

I've heard a few aspiring writers say, I don't have time to read. My first thoughts after hearing that are, then you don't have time to write. I think continuing to read is an important tool for writers.

Admittedly, reading changed for me after I began writing. I see words on a deeper level and search out the flow and author's voice. I look for pacing and plot structure. When all is said and done I still immensely enjoy reading.

I agree with King's assessment, only the writer knows when to truly call themselves a writer. (Hugs)Indigo

Indigo said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Clara said...

Lovely post Jen. Quite true, quite true.

Leslie Rose said...

Nice post. I am a voracious reader. I read across genres, but I do have a special love for Sci Fi. Stephen King's book really inspired me as well.