In order to be a good writer, you must first be a good reader. This is just a fact of life, the same as if you need to be a good student you must study. The reason is that you learn so much about writing when you read. You learn about styles, different points of view, different phrasing, ways to tell a story, or an outline, ways to organize the story line, story arcs. And even in non-fiction writing (mainly what I do), you learn about how to present facts, how to keep in interesting and engaging, you learn what has worked for others and what hasn’t.
I read all the time for my day job and have become a master expert at research (need anything facts dug up? I am your girl). I actually read and do research more than I write. I am constantly reading about the product and services the company I work for has to offer. Constantly reading about the latest “thing” that we do. And then I write about it. it may take hours of reading through white papers, data sheets, industry articles and even interviewing others.
Even for my personal writing, I may do a lot of research. If the writing is of a personal nature, I may just sit down and write (most of these type posts take 10 minutes of less to write), but others, I may on and research for days. And article that I did for Atlanta Girls Magazine Called Battle Bullies, I researched and read for about a month gathering all the information needed for that type of article. And I had the opportunity to interview some of the most esteemed experts in the country on the topic…and read all of their books.
I have never met, or even heard of another writer, that was not first an avid reader. It is the art of learning how to craft, create and tell a story. As far as writers go, we are all bookworms. I have a pretty impressive book collection (though not as extensive as I would like). And I cannot tell you how exciting it is to do into a mans house and see a whole bunch of books. It is hot and very sexy. I look at the titles, browsing and smiling. Another reader. And if he writes too? Well, that is just extra icing on the cake.
For me, writing is like therapy. It makes me happy, it frees my thoughts, opens me up in ways that would otherwise be closed. Sometimes it pours out of me, other times it is writers block and I could not write a sentence to save my life. It cannot be scheduled or forced… it just is. What makes us write, what makes us have the meed to put stories on paper, whether our own or others? I don’t know. I just know that it is.
Yes, we writers are a strange group – book worms, middle of the night writing, often having strange pieces of paper strewn about with handwritten scribbles, or notes on the cellphone/iPad/smartphone. Always thinking about what to write and how that idea could fit in. We are almost like the mad scientists…of literature.
And if we really sit down and think about it…it may have just started with a good story in a good book that we read.