Writerly Debate #1: To read or not to read
This should not be a debate, but somehow, it has turned into one.
Reading, to me, is essential if you are a writer. If you are not a writer, reading is STILL essential. People who do not read are missing out on beautiful, inspirational, magical worlds. On inspirational human experiences whether fictional or factual (non fiction, memoirs) on knowledge of history, on knowledge of current events, or even pop culture. Sure, we can watch videos and look at pictures now, but have you ever watched a news report and then read the same article accompanying it? Often it will provide more in depth details regarding the story.
But enough of that. Here’s my perspective as a writer on why I read fiction.
#1. I read to learn
I am always analyzing what I read, in terms of the quality of the writing. And I learn from reading accomplished authors. I glean from quality works and pay attention to how effective descriptions are done, how deep POV writing is done, how first person POV v. third person POV is done, etc. But styles and writing are always changing.
#2 I read to keep up with current trends.
I read both in and outside of my genre (Christian romance) but when I read inside my genre, I try to read current books and look for current trends in themes and such. I take note of prevalent themes throughout the genre, I take note of themes I personally don’t like, I take note of the style and voice of the current authors, and past authors.
#3 I read to support authors, particularly in Christian fiction and in Christian Romance.
My goal is to be an accomplished author. You may very well become accomplished by not reading any of your fellow author’s works, but I think your reputation could suffer. You reap what you sow, as they say. If you support your fellow authors, they are more likely to support you. If you read their works, they might be more willing to read yours. I don’t particularly support authors whose works I don’t like (based on quality) but I will not slam them either. (unless it’s done anonymously)
#4 I read to find inspiration
Most of the time, when I’m reading I don’t exactly ‘look’ for inspiration, but I love, love, love reading books that make me question things. That make me think deeply about life, about love, about God. In those stories that make me think deeply, I find inspiration. Sometimes, I find inspiration that leads to new story ideas. Often times, I find encouragement that then spurs me to keep writing my own stories. Sometimes I read stories that confirm in me that the themes I write about are worth writing.
#5 I read for fun
Because reading is fun, people! I love getting swept away in romantic stories, or dystonian worlds. I love getting to know the lives of characters, and I love getting to know the world they live in. People who don’t like reading, that is your right and your choice, but I say, it’s just too fun not to read.
Now I leave you with a selection of a few quotes regarding reading.
“Books open your mind, broaden your mind, and strengthen you as nothing else can.” -William Feather
“What a miracle it is that out of these small, flat, rigid squares of paper unfolds world after world after world, worlds that sing to you, comfort and quiet or excite you. Books help us understand who we are and how we are to behave. They show us what community and friendship mean; they show us how to live and die.” — Anne Lamott
“A great book should leave you with many experiences, and slightly exhausted at the end. You live several lives while reading.” William Styron
“You know you’ve read a good book when you turn the last page and feel a little as if you have lost a friend.” Paul Sweeney.
Do you love to read? Do you think it’s necessary for writers? Why or why not? I love hearing from you!
Before you go, check out the rest of my writerly debates