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Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Reading and Writing - IWSG November 2018

It's IWSG Day. The goal of this blog hop is to share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds. IWSG is the brainchild of Alex Cavanaugh, our brilliant ninja leader. Co-hosts for November are:

To find a list of other contributors with links to their posts, click here.

Recently, I read a writer/blogger who said she never reads when she writes because she doesn’t want to feel daunted by another writer's talent. Truth be told, if the world was coming to an end I’d take a book along with me to the next stop, but the insecure me heard her message.

I’ve just finished reading Fredrik Backman’s My Grandmother asked me to Tell you I’m Sorry. It’s one of the most creative books I’ve read in a while, filled with fantasy, world-building, reality-based intrigue and yearning—all flowing seamlessly from the protagonist, a precocious seven-year-old. It’s one of those books for which I skipped chores so I could read before and after work. I read it while eating breakfast and even in front of the TV while our beloved Red Sox competed in the World Series. That said, at one point while reading My Grandmother, I put the book down as I experienced a crisis of faith. His book was so darn clever. Nothing I write is remotely close. 

Amidst that ugly little moment of “give-up-itis” I had to stop the negativity train and remind myself of something important. Writing is not a competition. We’ll always discover stories we wish we had the talent and creativity to write. As long as we mine our own imaginations, passions and patience to come up with the best stories we can, as long as we aspire to become better, what more we can ask of ourselves?

Still, I needed help getting over my self-doubt. Stephen King’s On Writing, always helps me when I feel low, so I Googled and found two appropriate quotes to pull me out of my funk.

If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have the time (or the tools) to write. Simple as that.

The more you read, the less apt you are to make a fool of yourself with your pen or word processor. 

The moral of the story is that books like Backman’s can entertain AND teach. I won’t give up on them, and I won’t give up on me. After all, how bad can it be if the “homework” necessary to become a good writer involves good reading, too? 

What are your thoughts on reading while writing?