This is my Insecure Writers’ Support Group post for September. There is often a question prompt from the hosts, but as usual, I’m writing it ahead of time when there’s something on my mind I think would help other writers. You can check the full list and join in yourself here.
Writers write and readers read – don’t they?
Well, no. It’s often said that the most important thing for writers is to read, read and read. There are some very good reasons to do so:
- you know what’s going on in your genre(s), which helps you to know what’s hot and what’s not. I don’t think guinea pig fantasy adventures are ever going to be hot, but, hey, Gforce…
- you get to read how other writers tackle things, both the good and the bad
- both of those help you learn
Readers do read, of course, but the reading writers do is supposed to be subtly different – more critical, if you like. I know that I’m starting to find it hard to read without that critiquing eye sneaking in and spoiling a good story. By doing more of that I hope to get better at critiquing my own work before it reaches my editor and my beta readers! But sometimes I just want to read for enjoyment – for escape. Of course some books allow you to do both.
I do read some books and blogs about writing, and reading, and editing, although I always look to see what the blogger’s credentials are. There’s a lot of duplicate information, and some contradictory stuff out there. As with anything else, the writer needs to be critical of the ‘how to write your best-seller’ information out there.
But two posts I found particularly useful last month were:
That second one is by Chuck Wendig, who uses language some people may find offensive. But his writing tips are usually excellent.
What about you? How is your reading going?
PS. In case anyone has the wrong idea from last month, I am allowed to feel self doubt from time to time. Some people who are supposed to know me well think that I don’t! There’s a lovely post by Kyle Perkins I read last Monday which picks up on the thread. Go read it, but here’s the bit I really really liked.
The important thing is that you keep writing, and coming up with new material for the fans you DO have. Those people, the true fans, they will be there with you until the end, and one real fan that you connect with, is worth a thousand hollow likes or contest wins. If you even have a single fan, you owe it to them to keep going, that’s someone that totally believes in you. Don’t let your own self doubt let them down.
So, a big THANK YOU to my readers. You know who you are 😀
9 thoughts on “#IWSG – Reading and Writing”
Hi Jemima – you’ have lots of wise advice for us .. and you do read, and do write – we can follow your example. I agree it’s essential to provide something that’s relevant to your readers … cheers HIlary
Thanks, Hilary 🙂
I also am subscribed to Chuck’s blog and find him to be excellent.
I believe writers have to read. We read and then we write. I know for myself that a lot of my own improvements in writing stem out of reading other people’s works. So I agree with you wholeheartedly. A writer who doesn’t read is scary for me.
I enjoyed reading your article today.
All the best.
Good post. I love that quote at the end, too. That attitude is helpful for the times when I don’t know if anyone is reading but you–getting to know you has been totally worth it!
Reading with a critical eye…yeah, sometimes it can interfere. But I’m also sometimes disappointed in myself for failing to do that. It’s usually a sign the book was well-written, because I just dove in and had a great time without looking at why. I don’t very often do it, but I think we could learn a lot from turning right around and re-reading a book we think is fantastic, maybe able to pay more attention now that we know what’s happening (I sometimes do this with audio books, if I’ve not got anything new to listen to and haven’t deleted something–and reading the print version then listening to the audio is another good way to see more of how a story is put together, how the language works, etc.
I was chatting to someone from my village on the bus and we discovered we had the same interest (obsession) about HP. She offered me the audio version, I offered her Princelings in return 😉 Maybe I’ll discover I can’t live without audio books after that.
Of course, you and I will then have to get our own books into audio…
I think going rogue with your own topic was refreshing. And I’ll have to check out those two posts. I have a lot to learn.
Thanks, Elizabeth! We all have a lot to learn – especially as things keep changing 🙂
I’m glad to know I’m not the only writer that struggles with just enjoying a fun story. I regularly find myself critiquing the work of others. On the plus side, when I can lose myself in a story, I know I’ve found a good one!
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