Writing and Reading go hand in hand
Writing and Reading
I started writing groups in our local library around six months ago. My aim: to encourage, help, and support one another in our writing journey. It helps with critiquing, finding out what works, what doesn’t, and improves our writing. I could never find one locally, so I belong to a couple of others in different towns as well. They ARE BRILLANT!
Reading alone, or in groups is important, and you will soon find out why.
I have to say reading groups scare the pants off me as I’ve heard some can’t wait to tear the author apart. They are not for me. I wonder what they get out of it if they do, and if they have ever tried to write. Who knows. Imagine me shrugging. But of course there are those writing groups who are more thoughtful and balanced in their approach. Give them a glass of wine and cheers!
As a writer I realised after I wrote the title on this post it started out with the word Writing. Writing is my passion. But to write, there is another important part, it is also important to read. If you are new writer reading books is essential. I promise you will find it an enjoyable part of developing and honing your skills.
Maybe the question is why write?
There are a multitude of reasons as to why someone will want to write. Fame? Well. Sometimes it happens. Maybe there are those writers who write so that it can be passed down to the next generation. I think that’s wonderful.
You no doubt have your own version as to why you want to write.
But let me say here, being published is not the be all and end all. If you have managed to write anything at all, give yourself an enormous pat on the back. No matter how long or how short. You did good. You are amazing. You have taken time out to find yourself and share your thoughts onto paper. It isn’t an easy task. AND its FREE THERAPY.
Writing for most is HARD. It really is. When asked how I decide what to write, the answer is… I have an idea… ‘You begin with one word at a time, it’s that hard and that easy.’ Neil Gaiman. (probably badly quoted, but nevertheless it’s true). Of course you need something in the back of your mind – the story you need to share for posterity or for whatever reason.
Please check out my writers prompts on this blog. I post them weekly. Sometimes it helps spring board an idea. Nothing you write is wrong. Whatever you write is yours and yours alone. Editing is a great part of the process in the end and at least you have made a start.
I confess I find it is all too easy to hide away and tap away on the keyboard, ignore the family, forget to talk, forget there is a world going on around me. I have plenty of reasons to write. Some of those reasons are private, but I love it. I get lost in it. Though I want to wrap myself in a cotton ball sometimes and blub because it isn’t going to plan. But in the end my stories have characters who take over and shout at me to get them down on paper and maybe then show the world.
Why read then?
What I love about reading is I always come across something new, and someone else’s take take on life. Whether it is a well-constructed sentence, or it dabbles with a line of poetry, or it grabs me by the short and curlies, and makes me re-read it over and over. I’ve come across numerous books who are so skilfully written I want to chuck it all in, but then if I don’t keep practising how will I ever improve.
To read, is not only an enjoyable experience it enhances your knowledge, develops your understanding, and hones your skills. Surprising? Fact. If you have just embarked on your journey of writing, through reading you will soon find how others have succeeded in completing a great piece of work.
Here’s a few examples of things I do: I like to put a removable sticker on a memorable passage, or a word, or the way someone has created a sentence that makes me want to re-read it. If that’s the case, I go over it, maybe a couple of times, depending on what it is. I might check out the way it’s been written. I ask myself several questions: why I particularly enjoyed that part, and what made the book stand out from all the rest. Or was it something that sounded dreadful. I learn all the time.
Reading a broad range of genres is another way of learning different styles, hearing the authors voice (their style of writing, their own take on how the words should be written, and most readers will soon learn what to come to expect from them). I feel it doesn’t matter what genre you read, or write, something within the pages might jump out at you.
Good or bad writing helps you to see what works and what doesn’t.
To all authors thank you for writing – and special thanks to all you readers, for without you, writers would not be writing for an audience.
Life experience – is this important?
Life experience is another key feature in making a plausible story ring true. It doesn’t matter if you are writing fiction. Fiction is often based on reality. You will find it in fantasy, sci-fi, whatever. Think about it. A love story. A villain. Hurt. Sad. Happy. Glad. Scared, bla, bla. It’s all there.
I was asked the other day about writing a non fiction book. If its academic then it doesn’t need the flair and skill of including a love story, for example… But you can weave in life experience to make it more interesting.
I would challenge any author who say they never leave a hint of themselves somewhere amongst the text or sub text. I read a snippet from Mr OS Nock. He was prolific UK author writing about trains. He’s done it in such a way that even I, not a railway enthusiast, was captivated by his views and the story he brought to the page. Who would have thought?
But of course, we do. After all we all have experiences in life. Those experiences can shape our thoughts and that knowledge make us the people we are today and then for some dastardly reason we write it down.
It might make us reflect how to do things better, or in some cases maybe not. When we write, our experience of life it makes the story real, believable, and most of all enjoyable.
I like to write about bullies or villains. Why? Because I’ve come across quite a few and it’s a way of annihilating them without causing any actual harm. My bullies / villains come in all shapes and sizes. They don’t necessarily have to be stereotypical, like hanging around a dingy street corner dishing out a punch or worse. But we all know bullies can be psychologically damaging. We all know bullies leave their mark.
Some might look all lovely and pretty on the surface. Some come across as honest, butter wouldn’t melt kind of people. Sometimes they get away with it. (I hate that), but one day they can’t help but be exposed. I think of a shiny rosy-red apple on the outside, but their core is as ugly and revolting as biting into a maggot.
I’ve been caught out. More than once.
Back to why write?
I can’t think any author would not want to have their book published without wanting their audience to enjoy what they have written.
On the other hand, I guess there are people who publish because they have the desire to prove they can do it. It’s a tick on their bucket list.
To me holding one of my books in my hand, to know I wrote every word from the heart, and it is out there for others to read, is actually scary. I know I sweated blood and tears of frustration, so when this wonderful moment comes, it is finished, it is published, ready for others to read, it is simply astonishing.
Pinch me now.
Thank you for reading. I hope you find some of this useful. Please leave a comment. All things writing. Happy reading and writing. Have a great week.
If you would be kind enough to leave a comment – all things writing I would be grateful. mybook.to/twentyone
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