I’ve been busy this summer, but in a good way. Lots of family sojourns, late dinners in the fading light, and gobs of time reading. And it’s reading I want to (quite ironically) write about here.
I’ve been a pretty avid reader all my life – aimless, spontaneous, and mostly unplanned book choices. Other than graduate school and mandatory consumption of grossly overpriced tomes, I’ve read mostly fiction and business books. That is until I started to write.
The connection between what we read and how we write is pretty obvious. If you only read pulp fiction it might be a struggle to write for a C-suite audience. If you read mostly high-brow academic treatise (for unknown reasons) you might not connect well with Joe-public. And if you only read romance, well forgetaboutit.
When I started writing I was intent on blogging. Blogging grew into articles. And articles matured into a book. When blogging, you can be forgiven sloppy grammar and inconsistent punctuation. After all, it’s just a blog. But writing for proper consumption (articles, books and the like) deserves proper treatment.
The prolific (and as a result, rich) novelist Stephen King’s advice is “If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above others; read a lot and write a lot.” “Good writing…” he continues in Stephen King on writing, “teaches the learning writer about style, graceful narration, plot development, the creation of believable characters, and truth-telling.”
So there you have it, from the creator of Carrie (and many other creepy characters) – read a lot to write well.
I still like a fast-paced detective novel (check out Michael Robotham’s series with Professor Joseph O’Loughlin for terrific plot and character development) matched with the work of current authors. I find I can pour through a new self-development how-to until about 10PM, after that it’s time for some juicy cloak and dagger.
Best-seller Timothy Ferriss recommends ending the day with a mindless paperback to take your mind off work.
If you are an aspiring writer – what is important is to get started. “It’s not the writing part that’s hard.” warns Steven Pressfield (The War of Art) in his seminal guide to all authors, “What’s hard is sitting to write.”
Once you do sit down to write, send it along. I’d love to see your work.
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