Jun 12, 2015
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Welcome to Episode 015 of the Write Now podcast. We're going to
be talking about something I've wanted to talk about for a while.
SO I HOPE YOU HAVE BEEN WANTING TO HEAR IT! (Hint: the topic is
BOOKS, you guys!)
Why do writers need to read?
"Reading is essential if you're going to be a writer." You've heard it from teachers and fellow writers and books on writing. Heck, you've even heard it from me.
(And from Stephen King.)
But why? Why is it so essential for writers to read?
8 benefits of reading for writers:
Reading lets you understand what a reader wants -- and what you
need to give your own readers.
Reading gives strong fundamentals in story structure and plot development.
Reading gives you a feel for and can expand your own ideas of stylistic items such as graceful narration, metaphor, transition, voice, and more.
Reading gives you both inspiration and drive to move forward in your own work.
Reading is a great way to get ideas!
Reading shows you what's already been done.
Reading lets you take advantage of lessons already learned by generations of smart writers.
And, via our good friend Stephen King's excellent book On Writing: "The real importance of reading is that it creates an ease and intimacy with the process of writing... Constant reading will pull you into a place... where you can write eagerly and without self-consciousness."
My point is, a writer who doesn't have time to read is like a
musician who doesn't have time to listen to music, or a chef who
doesn't have time to eat. The two activities are complementary
and necessary if you're going to write well.
6 ways to fit reading into your busy schedule:
Starting with the most obvious!
Read in your favorite reading place during your free time
-- whether that's out on the beach, in a cozy armchair by the
fireplace, or in bed before falling asleep.
Read over lunch at your desk or in the break room. Wear headphones (whether or not they're playing music) as necessary.
Read while waiting -- at the doctor's office, in line at the DMV, while you're waiting for your daughter to emerge from school, on the toilet... wherever you can.
Read during your commute to work, if you happen to ride a train or bus, or travel via carpool (but not if you're driving, bicycling, or walking).
Read while you're exercising on a treadmill, elliptical, spinner, or another piece of equipment that doesn't need you to, you know, keep an eye on anything.
Read EVERYWHERE ELSE (while jogging, gardening, vacuuming, driving, attending a boring party, etc.) with the magic of audiobooks!
I coin the phrase "predilection for fiction" in this episode. You're welcome.
The book of the week.
It must be Stephen King week in my brain or something.
YOU GUYS. I read Bag of Bones and I was really glad I did. And not just because it was gripping and compelling, etc., but because it's about a writer and the struggles all writers face.
It's also about ghosts and lucid dreams and a truly disturbing custody battle.
I won't give any spoilers here -- part of the pleasure of reading this book, of course, is all the twists and turns it takes as it unfolds. But I think you will enjoy the exploration of grief and what it means to be haunted -- not only by literal ghosts, but by memories and hidden histories and resounding echoes of lost talents.
Keep up-to-date with my reading exploits on Goodreads.
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