I have to admit that, for a big part of my adult life, I went through a span of NOT wanting to read.
I’d given up on writing. Life was too big and full of too many responsibilities for me to take the time necessary to write. One reason I gave up was because I knew reading was a necessity for me to learn the craft, and again, that took time I didn’t have. So I quit it all. I went on a Literary Fast.
When friends would suggest a book, I was that person that says, “I just don’t have time to read.” The only reading I did through those years was of textbooks, typically biology, psychology, or genetics. The occasional magazine/newspaper article would catch my eye, and when I was bored and just needed something to read, I pulled out my handy medical dictionary. Pretty sad, huh?
So…as you can imagine…when I finally gave in and decided to try reading fiction again, I responded like a woman driven mad by thirst in a barren desert who finally finds the oasis.
I. COULD. NOT. STOP.
I read and read and read some more. I inhaled books, ingested them, let their words ignite that old desire in me. When the itch to write came back, this time I didn’t ignore it.
I’ve learned enough in my life to know that it is best to make the most of today. Tomorrow becomes yesterday so fast, and before you know it all the “I want to’s” and “I will do’s” become “I should have’s.”
And that’s how I ended up here: Blogging about my writing journey.
I blog about things I’ve learned that benefit me as a writer, in hopes my experience will benefit someone else. And today I’m telling you to READ.
Make the time. Get up early. Stay up late. Read on your lunch break or when your kid is at soccer practice. Read while you soak in the tub or while you lounge by the pool or while your hubby watches ESPN. Even if it’s just a page a day, READ.
For writers, reading is fuel. It not only sparks ideas, but it teaches you. If you want to know how to ‘show and not tell,’ look for it. Find examples where the writer is exemplary at the skill and study the bejeezus out of it.
When you read something you love, something that makes you (as a reader) exited – break it down. Figure out why that paragraph or that chapter stirred something in you. Then, figure out how to do that in your own writing. Also, look for what you don’t like. If you hate the way a writer uses dialogue tags, make a note of it.
I read a little of everything, but I have found that reading books that follow the lines of my own novel help the most. Also, look for authors with a writing style similar to your own. You aren’t attempting to duplicate their style, but rather trying to perfect your own.
So…get to reading!
Best of Luck