I’ve been swimming in this online wasteland of indie writers, aspiring writers, and book nerds for a while now. It seems to me that there are more “writers” who talk about writing than there are writers who actually write – anyone else feel this way?
Not that it’s a bad thing to talk about writing. I talk about writing all the time. But… I don’t know. It feels like there are more writers than readers, and everyone has a book they’re working on and would love some feedback – it’s probably a YA fantasy.
Which again, not a bad thing. I write YA fantasy and I’ve got novels I’d love feedback on, too.
I am a writer. This is fact. I write almost every day, tweaking stories, outlining series, editing drafts, revising, calculating, taking notes, thinking.
I am a reader. This is fact. I always have a book that I’m reading, and I am always on the lookout for books that feel my style. I’ve got holds at my library for the next six weeks, and I’m always adding more. My Goodreads to-read list is constantly growing, and so is my read list, although not as fast as I want it to. (Adult life, am I right?)
My point is – in order to be a good writer, you have to be a good reader. You have you love the art of story crafting, character development, the emotional rollercoaster, the art of sentence structure.
I could sit here all day and talk about adverbs, nouns, and metaphors; character names, magic systems, and medieval technology; passive voice, active voice, and other words for said; reliable and unreliable narrators; tropes and cliches; how to fold emotion into dialog and narration; how to twist your character’s arm and forward the plot; and anything else about writing fiction, but, the very, very, VERY best thing a writer can do to become a better writer is to read.
If you don’t like to read, why do you want to write?
A writer is a lover of stories, as a director is of movies; a chef to food; a baker to cupcakes; a mother to her children. A writer needs to love what she does, to the point of obsessiveness. I’m sure there are people who honestly believe me a psychopath.
I’ve been working to do more book reviews, to let book reviews be the main focus of this blog, rather than be another indie author ranting and raving about adverbs and pacing and boring narration that it started out as. (I apologize.)
I’ve done better – I’ve had a review coming out every Saturday for a while. I’m starting to read daily, rather than whenever I feel like it, and setting aside time to sit down and lose myself in a fictional world. I mean, what writer doesn’t like that?
I also write because I want to make a career out of it. If you want to write to get thoughts out of your head and share them online, then by all means – do what keeps you going. Don’t let my online yammering make you think you’re doing this “life” thing wrong. I’m not sure there is a “right” way.