Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Reading, Writing, Reaching, part 2

Last week I shared this wonderful plan of mine called the Three R’s for being a writer. Read, write, reach.  And I kind of left you hanging there.  So here would be my thoughts for the “reading” goal.

Reading. To be a writer, you need to read. If you don't like to read, I hate to tell you this, but you may not write anything which anyone else wants to read.

So what are the best things for a writer to read? The sky, so they say, is the limit. I think it is important to read a little bit of everything. Start by reading in the genre in which you write. That seems obvious. Unfortunately, I have yet to find my genre, or maybe my genre is main-stream fiction, well, except that my first and only book is a memoir. Good thing that I like to read memoir. But as you can see, reading what you write may not be as easy as it first appears.

How about just read what you enjoy. That’s a good start.

I think that you should also make an attempt to read things you maybe don’t enjoy. Like the classics. Uck, you say. Yes, some classics are horrible and I ask myself over and over again, why has this book stood the test of time and why does every freshman English teacher insist her students read it and worse yet , that they should know what this is about.

Big confession. I spent many years thinking I wanted to be a high school English teacher. Good thing God had a different plan for me. At this point in time, I cannot see myself as a high school English teacher. High school was scary then and it is no better now.

Ok, I digress. So, read what you like and read what you don’t like. And then try to squeeze in some books on how to write. Again, I don’t always get this one. Have you seen how many books there are on writing? Lots. And of those I have read, some are helpful and some are not. And that’s just how it goes. I think you need to read as many of them as you can, then take the information and sift it, keeping what is worth keeping and blowing the rest away. (To borrow a famous quote.)

I am usually reading an average of three books at a time. Usually a novel of some sort, a self-help book – often on writing, but sometimes on other things. I read from a devotional each night and I try at least a couple times a week to read my Bible. Here’s one little tidbit. Whether you are a believer or not, the Bible is really a great piece of literature. There is a lot for the writer to learn from the Bible. Plots, sentence structure, how to hook your reader, when to leave the reader hanging. Plus, there is an amazing amount of stuff in the Bible that is a part of our culture (again, whether you are Christian or not). An example. The saying “red sun in morning, sailors takes warning” comes from the Bible. Seriously.

So, these would be my reading goals. Something new, something old, something helpful, something scriptural. In no particular order and in no particular amount. 

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