I’m going to write a novel. For the love of all that is holy, why?

There is creative reading as well as creative writing.

                                                        – Ralph Waldo Emerson

A writer is a reader first

You’ve heard it before: in order to be a good writer you must be well read (we’ll discuss this lovely concept in another post). Read as much as you can and expose yourself to as many diverse authors as you can, writers learn to write from reading others who are masters of writing, and other wonderful pieces of advice that do little to ebb away our anxiety as writers.

I discussed in my I don’t need you to be my hero post that it is important to find your voice as a writer through writing. I made the argument that our influences make us who we are as writers, but we shouldn’t get lost trying to be Fitzgerald, Hemingway or their likes.

So we’ve dealt with the possible extreme of losing your voice through excessive imitation, without exploration of your own writing voice. We’ve yet to look at the debilitating effects of not reading at all. Debilitating? Yes, and I’m sure after this video you’ll be using such words to describe the side effects of not reading at all.

Anyone who wants to be an author needs to watch this video:

What are some of the things that have made you the writer you are? Is being “well read” all that important? What’s your favourite line from the video? I can’t decide, but “I’ve never even seen you read a book,” is golden.

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9 thoughts on “I’m going to write a novel. For the love of all that is holy, why?

  1. Omg. I am dying – this video is hilarious. “But I am the talent” just killed me.
    Certainly reading has been an immense influence on me, but I agree — being “well read” can only get you so far. I do believe in the saying that in order for one to write, one must read and read often; but I think what is meant by that is the experiences you gain along the way. You gain experience through reading, through life, through interacting with others, and I think that’s what makes a writer a writer.

    Great post 🙂

  2. I know, this video is a piece of writing treasure.

    I feel the same, reading is only part of the nonexistent equation for being a writer. There is so much more that goes into it.
    Thank you my friend 🙂

  3. My voice, the one that speaks through the clatter of computer keys late at night is raised so that I can give shape to what thoughts surround me. If I am read it is like having a discussion with strangers about that which is important to us in that moment. It is why we blog is it not to delve into conversation using written form, to find a voice among the throng and to be heard and recognized beyond the confines of our own lives.

    As for reading what others offer that too is part and parcel of who I am – reading is like surfing the currents of another’s imagination and I am quite sure that I would cease to exist as a person should stories disappear from this world.

    • That is why we blog, write, talk, form relationships; to listen and be listened to. Some may say it’s superficial to place such value on the comments in blogs, but discussions are important. Discourse is how people communicate, create and solve problems.

      Reading and writing are essential to one another, they’re a packaged deal. Your thoughts are so eloquently put. Don’t disappear! Hurry, get yourself in a book.

      Haha, thanks for reading my blog, you don’t know (of course you do, you have a blog of your own!) how exciting it is to have someone read and contribute to your thoughts.

      • I enjoy your blog and yes I do know the secret little thrill that says – oooh look I’ve got a comment – someone read my post – all this is followed by sedate smiles and seating oneself carefully to respond – otherwise known as grinning like a madwoman and doing a little victory dance in the chair.

  4. I think reading must be an escape and a comfort, a consolation, a stimulant of choice: you should be reading for the pure pleasure of it, for the beautiful stillness that surrounds you when you hear an author’s words reverberating in your head. Reading is the sole means by which we slip, involuntarily, often helplessly, into another’s skin, another’s voice, another’s soul. After all, reading is arguably a far more creative and imaginative process than writing; when the reader creates emotion in their head, or the colors of the sky during the setting sun, or the smell of a warm summer’s breeze on their face, they should reserve as much praise for themselves as they do for the writer -perhaps more. Writing, on the other hand, is hardly an escape from reality. It’s a way of understanding it. Is not a slipping into another’s skin, but bleeding your own flesh, and it’s vain to sit down to write when you have not stood up to live.

    • That is a beautiful and honest way of looking at the process of reading and writing. A single word can trigger universes in the reader’s mind. It’s amazing how much seeing we do with our brains.

    • Thanks, I’ve learned a lot as my time as a writer, and still have tons to learn. I’ve picked up some new knowledge about setting, drama and production from your blog as well.

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