Wednesday, August 12, 2015

If You Want to Be a Writer....READ

What made you want to be a writer? When did it hit you that that was what you wanted to do in life?Was it for the fame? The glory? The thought of eating ramen while you bemoan the fact that you can't pay your bills and are about to evicted from your apartment? Those are all good reasons why you want to become a writer!.....probably.

For me it was in 6th grade when I read Tamora Pierce's The Lioness Quartet series (Or as a I call it, the Alanna series). I read those books like they were pop-rocks and I was holding a coke. I love those books. I re-read them constantly and they never get old. They're amazing and brilliant and I don't know how she did it so beautifully.

My reaction every time I finish a Tamora Pierce book. ANY.
But the point is, when I read the last word of her four books I sat there, completely stunned and enraptured and wishing I were in that world still. And then it came. The Great Moment. I realized in a flash of clarity: THIS. This feeling that she gave me, this is what I wanted to give others. I wanted to make people feel moved and part of a world.

And I never stopped writing after that. Ever. But you know what? I never stopped reading either. I devour books to the point that libraries run when they see me because they know their shelves will be fully read by the time I'm done with it. Bookstores close up shop because they know I'll chain myself to their bookshelves and not leave until I'm done reading an entire section of books.

I love reading. And to be a good writer you need to love to read. Seriously. I don't know a single writer who has ever told me the hate reading.

Writers make good books because they love reading books. And if you want to be a successful writer, you read. Why, you may ask? Why let me enlighten you with.....A LIST! (you know how much I love lists. C'mon, were you really that surprised? Really!?)

1) It makes you smarter 

See, this robot know's what I'm talking about! He just got smarter!
as a writer you need to know words. You need to know flow. You need to know what makes a scene work and what doesn't. Classes in writing help for sure! But you know what really helps? Reading. Reading so much that you KNOW. You read so much you instinctively do it. Plus, I mean, you learn more words or better expressions or better ways to DO things. So go get smart! (unlike me. who uses 'or' too much)

2) It can inspire you!

Sometimes when we write we spend so much time doing it we kind of emotionally write ourselves dry. We feel nothing for our books or our character's plight (or is that just me?). So reading a book that moves you can help you get out of your funk! Plus it might get you some really amazing ideas that your poor, cracker dry emotional brain (or heart?....Kidney?) needs! So read! Enjoy the book! FEEL.

3)  It reminds you of why you wanted to write 

Maybe this one is just for me. I'm sure there are plenty of writers out there wearing their expensive shades and saying "I do it for the fame." Go you! But for me and maybe others out there, we write because a book moved us and made us want to move others. It made us sit up and say "wow...I can do this. I want to do this too!" But sometimes we lose that feeling. Often. We lose track of why we were writing because we get so discouraged by not writing enough or not writing as well as think we should. So when in doubt, read. Read the books that made you want to write. That's what I do! Plus, escaping your own world for a bit might help!

See, even Fester just remembered why he wanted to be America's Next Great Novelist!

4) Reading books teaches you. 

Books teach you. You can re-read a book and learn something knew every time! And when you learn new things that means you have more things to write about. More things that can inspire why and how a character thinks and feels the way they do. It teaches you things about yourself sometimes, and can help you see where you're perhaps going wrong in your own book.

So if you want to be a good writer, read. And if you want to enjoy life and escaped into a world someone else created, read. If you want to understand yourself better, read. And most importantly, realize that even when you're a famous writer hanging out with JK Rowling and sipping tea, it's still important to read for pleasure. Because without books we wouldn't be writers and we wouldn't be artists. So crawl into your cardboard box and escaped into another world for a bit. you owe it to your book you haven't finished writing!

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