Tuesday, October 8

I Have a Bone to Pick...

Well, it may not be with you, the person currently reading this post, or it might. Who knows!

Either way, I have a bone to pick with some fellow authors/writers. Time after time after time I read Facebook statuses, Twitter updates, or blog posts that discuss how so-and-so doesn't read. Or they hate everything in their chosen genre.

I could go on, but you get the picture.

Um, excuse me? What do you mean you don't read? What the fudge are you doing as a writer then? Writers need to read. It's not a decision, it's not a choice. If you're a writer, you read. End of story (hah, bad puns early in the morning). I know we're all different, but writers need to read, and they need to read constantly.

A lot of people claim they don't read when they're writing because they will develop the voice of the person they're currently reading. But the problem with that is, we're supposed to write constantly. When do you read if you don't read while you're writing? Now, I can understand if you don't read your genre while you're writing, because you don't want to accidentally borrow ideas etc... but you still need to read something. On top of that, how do you develop a voice if you don't read someone else's?

I'd like to think my voice is unique, but I realize that my voice is a mishmash of everything I love, including fellow authors. We learn and grow based on our experiences. I guarantee you my voice at eleven was not the same as my voice now. Why? Because I grew up: I experienced new things, I matured (in some ways lol), and I read. I read a lot. My voice will grow and change every day and every year of my life.

Writers require constant inspiration, and what better way to acquire this than reading? We want people to love our books, but how can we make them worth reading if we ourselves don't read? How do you learn character arc, plot lines, and whatever else you need to know if you don't read? How do you know what sells and what doesn't, if you don't read? Sure, you could read the blurbs of books, but that doesn't discuss the essence of the book, or what makes it amazing. Harry Potter was a unique idea, but how many publishers turned her down? Someone had to actually read the book to love it.

Which means, my friends, that you need to read if you want any success in this industry. Take it or leave it. This is just my two cents.

4 comments:

  1. Well said, Natalie! Now I am one of those writers (when I'm writing) that won't read in her chosen genre because, like accents, I do pick up 'voice'. But I am reading other stuff!!

    I'm also of the camp that the more you write (anything), the more you'll develop your natural story-telling voice. I know blogging has helped greatly with my understanding and recognition of 'voice'.

    Great post!!

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  2. Janet-- I think that's perfectly fine, and totally understandable. I don't like to read Highlander books while I'm writing my Highlander story, either. Now, if I need a quick boost in inspiration, I have been known to pick up a medieval book to help me out ;) More often than not, I'll watch a medieval movie, though lol. I don't like comparing myself to those writers, and I definitely don't want to accidentally borrow their ideas/voice.

    Yep, I agree. Blogging has definitely helped me too. It's just nice to write without worrying about this plot line or that character lol.

    Thanks! I'm glad you enjoyed it.

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  3. Agreed! I think it's important for writers to read for all the reasons you pointed out. I actually like to read in my genre when I'm writing my stories, only because I find medieval romances so inspiring. A good costume drama helps too.

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  4. Jen-- I'm glad you agree =) See, and everyone is different. What works for you doesn't work for me, but that's okay. You're still reading, which is the point.

    You know me and costume dramas ;)

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