Friday, July 11, 2014
Question of the Day.
I read a lot of writer's blogs and follow a fair amount of writerly types on social media. A recurring theme seems to permeate any sort of advice writers give to new, aspiring, or even older, insecure, writers.
You have to read in order to write....or, at least, write well.
But, do you really? I ask this, not in a rhetorical sense, but as a legitimate question.
I mean, don't get me wrong.....I enjoy reading and think kids should get into it as soon as possible. In fact, if family legend (my mother) is to be believed, I taught myself to read before entering Kindergarten on a steady diet of comic books, Mr. Roger's Neighborhood, and Sesame Street. I still remember those old issues of Sad Sack and Richie Rich strewn all over my bed. Even with that achievement under my belt, I don't think I like reading near as much as some people who blog or use social media. And there's nothing wrong with these people, either. I'm a very strong advocate of reading, especially critical reading. The type that makes one think or forces someone to question something they might not have, had they gotten the information from another medium.
I just feel a little......inadequate....I guess is the word I'm looking for...when some feel the need to discuss how many books they've read or have on the burner. Like when someone says they've read twenty books in a month.
Not that I'm doubting them, but I have to wonder where they get the time and what sort of books they're reading. I'm hard pressed to find a handful of books that can catch my interest and draw me in, much less twenty in one month. Maybe I'm more finicky as a reader? Maybe I need to expand my "reading horizons"? I don't know.
Grabbing my Kindle Fire, I can scroll through the carousel and see, probably, around ten books I've downloaded. Of those ten, I'm in the middle of (and have been for a while now) Save the Cat and The Vault of Walt (about Walt Disney), and have just started Gaiman's American Gods.
While I wouldn't, necessarily, consider myself a "slow reader", I feel like I'm chugging uphill in trying to finish these books.
Going back to my question, though, does reading trump actual writing when trying to become a better writer? I would think that reading other people's work, while I can certainly see some benefits in it, doesn't really do much towards helping you hone your own writing style. Maybe I shouldn't even say "trump"....maybe it's something that goes hand in hand with writing and honing your own abilities as well as finding your own style?
I don't know.
I also don't want this to come off as some sort of "anti-reading" type of discussion....it's not. As I said, I'm extremely pro reading....I just question as to whether it's imperative to be a good writer.
What do you think?