Monday, September 05, 2011
The Right to Write Comes with a Need to Read
She said she didn't spend much time reading.
I don't know if she subscribes to the newsletters, and I hope she's not reading this (I mean, she did say she doesn't read, right?), but I literally dropped my head in my hands. How did I advise someone on writing who didn't read?
Writing means surrounding yourself with words. You read them, write them, study them, analyze their structure and order. You love them, hate them, and go to sleep thinking how to shuffle them into placement that sings, zings and leaves an imprint.
Teachers return to school to improve, volunteer after hours, and tutor way more than they get paid for. Doctors study professional journals, seek mentors, and attend conferences to hone their skills. Artists not only paint, but they study other artists' work and visit museums and public displays, hoping to learn from those who've traveled before them.
What makes a writer any different? Learn from mentors. Learn by example. Heck, you can't just teach yourself!
I've said this before, and I'll say it as many times as necessary to make a difference. You don't have the right to write if you don't have the need to read. Yeah, maybe it's corny because it rhymes, but if you don't marry your craft and learn to live with it around the clock, reading and writing, you have no right to complain when you are rejected.
How the heck do you know if your writing is any good if you don't read any of the standards, the new material, the prize winners? Don't you even want to know who you're up against?
Please tell me you're a voracious reader. Please?