Monday 23 November 2020

Reading Revisited - The Creative Process



I've talked about this before (piece found here) but I thought that since I am now in a year where I will, most likely, read over 300 books, it was a good time to revisit the subject, talk about why reading matters as a writer, and also just discuss the ways that reading helps, and also why it's not the end of your writing career if you don't read as much as I do. So let's go through those now!


You'll have heard this talked about I'm sure, most writers start out as people who love stories and then grow up and want to write them. It's also a big thing that if you don't read, how do you know what kind of stories there are out there? But at the end of the day, reading matters because it's a way to feed your creative well. I know that everyone is born with an imagination, some great, some spectacular, some not, but at the end of it all, if you don't read as a writer, then you're doing yourself a disservice.

Reading matters for a number of reasons, it helps you learn how stories are told, helps spark those seeds of ideas and allows you to grow both as a reader, but also as a writer. You'll find yourself getting lost in other authors' worlds and from there you can find your own ideas, can see what works, what you like, what you don't and all of that. At the end of the day, you can discover these ideas from other forms of media, like film and TV, art and music, but you'll also end up finding out the hard way that if you don't read as a writer, it's harder to work out what genre, what category, who your target audience is, and what other books they may have enjoyed.

Speaking as someone who has always been an avid reader, I grew up on Enid Blyton and Roald Dahl, and Jacqueline Wilson and I lived and breathed stories, all of which helped me come into my writing shoes as a child and then later on in life. Reading has made me the writer I am today, as have writing books, but the point is, I read so much because I live for finding new things to devour. And that is a big part of how and why I tell the stories I tell.

I usually, bar the last two years, read 150 books a year, which is always a massive amount, but then this year, and last year, I found myself jumping into so many stories that I ended up having to extend my goal, and for that reason, I'm not almost at 300 books read. Does that mean that you have to be reading in the hundreds every year? No, not at all.

Everyone writes differently, and the same can be said for reading. I read, almost exclusively, on my Kindle, so that I'm able to take it with me and always have enough books to read. When I read paperbacks and such, I read so much slower because of the pain from holding the book open. That's why the Kindle has opened so many doors for me. But you don't have to be reading a hundred plus books a year to grow as an author. You can read ten, or twenty, or even smaller than that. I know some of my friends on Goodeads who go for one a month, and that's completely okay and valid.

You dictate the pace you read, but don't shoot yourself in the foot because you're not reading massive amounts, a book read is still a step forward in your writing, no matter how you consume that, be it audiobooks, or screenreaders, or ebook or paperback, the point is to read, everything else is irrelevant.

So how do you feel about the whole reading as a writer subject? Lemme know in the comments below!

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