Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Writing 101: Everybody Says You Have to Read, Too

As I've mentioned before, I go looking for writing tips all the time. It never hurts to have help, and I don't care who you are. But there's one tip that I just keep on seeing, and seeing, and now I have to address it. Because everybody says you have to read, too. I'm going to tell you what's wrong in that tip. 

When Enough is Enough

I'm not saying that the tip is wrong in entirety. Yes, you should read. It's very important that one understands the mechanics of a novel if one is going to write a novel, this much is clear. And I'll take it even further by saying that you ought to read books across several different genres. It's not at all a bad idea to read classics, mysteries, romances, YA novels, horror novels, fantasy novels and any other darned thing that strikes your fancy.

If you're a lover of words, you're probably going to do all of this anyway. And if you become an indie author, you're probably going to read self-published books as well. But here's where I draw the line: you don't have to read all the time.

If you are an indie author, you probably won't have much time to read, anyway. Some days I don't even have time to eat. I have to attempt to get food to my mouth with one hand while I type with the other. So when I see lots of other tip-givers brow-beating everyone with the advice that they must read, read all the time in order to learn how to write right, it really sticks in my craw. It just adds more pressure to your already-packed schedule, and that leads to stress and that prevents good writing anyhow. 

If you've already read a lot of books and you have to work and you've got to socialize and you have chores to do and errands to run and you need to try to write your own books in the middle of all of that, don't pile on. Don't spend a lot of time stressing that you might not be reading enough. Everybody says you have to read, too. And that's fine...but nobody says you have to just keep on doing it all the time.

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