Friday, October 7, 2011

you should be reading right now! yes, now.

Sometimes as writers, we tend to get ahead of ourselves. And by ahead of ourselves, I mean we hide in a cubbyhole somewhere in the middle of a dark library and say, "I will write this. N reading, no socializing, no anything until this blog post/short story/novel/random piece is done!"

This is a bad example, guys and gals. Like, number one bad example.

Let's pause here and think for a moment. When was the first time you wrote something? Sure, it may have been for your English class and yes it may have been in that annoying paper that had all those lines on it and you had to do cursive or you'd fail and you get my point. It probably wasn't for sport. But what, pray tell, did you write about? Did you make up something? Was it a fictional version of your favorite story staring you, or an alternate reality piece?

Chances are the first thing you wrote came from something you read or heard or saw. The first time I wrote a short story in 5th grade, it had some kind of malevolent candy land backdrop and a plot so pointlessly weird I don't even remember it. It wasn't until after I thought about it that, lo and behold, I had been reading some book with candy in it (I think it was about that kid who touched anything turned it into chocolate...) and my story came to life. To prove my point even further, I didn't start really writing until after reading most of the Harry Potter series! I fell in love with the story so much I HAD to make my own Hogwarts and make my own people to run through the halls wreaking havoc. My first three heartfelt characters, Ryoko, Lilix, and Kelly Jasper, all were born from a desire to write in the centerfold of Harry Potter.

I guess what I'm trying to say here in too many words is that if you think hiding in that hole is going to make you an awesome writer, it really isn't. In order to find where you fit and how you work and how to improve, you have to read. And read more. And keep reading until your eyeballs fall out. So for any writer, be it a NaNo enthusiast or just a person aching to finish your novel, go read! Pick up a book, fall in love with the characters and setting and mood, and understand why. Then apply it to yourself and your writing, your characters, your mood.

What about you? Where and when did you start writing? What sparked the itch to put words on the page?

1 comment:

  1. I think I started writing when I about about ten or so. My sister and I would write these god-awful boy band fan fiction stories. From there I moved on to Tolkien fanfic, and then eventually my own ideas. They never seem to be quite as good, though. :P