What more natural declarative statement is there for a writer than “I love books”? And yet I’ve heard of writers who never read.
Let’s just pause here for a second while I catch my breath… They never read…
Reading is like eating to me: don’t do it often enough and I get grouchy and out-of-sorts. Pick just the right book and I feel as if I just had some apple bread pudding. Oh wait – I did just have apple bread pudding! (Okay, it was a few hours ago but believe me, it stays with you!) Anyway, I could continue the reading = eating analogy for awhile but I’ll spare you. Suffice it to say that I can’t imagine not reading.
In fact, I was just at my local Half Price Books with a friend and brought home a signed copy of A Wizard of Earthsea. I started reading it on the way home (despite the book already in my bag) and when I brought it to my room to read before sleeping, I had to laugh at myself because it was just going on top of a pile of books that I’m already working on.
When it comes to writing, common wisdom dictates that you should write what you know (a subject for another night). Take that one step farther and it’s write what you read (or read what you write). If I did that, I’d be writing an odd combination of fantasy, picture book, romance, middle grade, and dystopian fiction.
Then there’s the publishing advice: read what’s been published in your genre in the last five years so you can make sure there is a place for your book and that you’re not repeating things. I’ve actually been doing that quite a bit: I’ve been reading YA dystopians from the last five years (yes, like The Hunger Games), but I’ve been doing it sparingly so I can keep my mind fresh but also make sure I see if I’m repeating something key that’s already out there before I’m in too deep to reroute. (And if anyone’s interested in knowing about any of the YA dystopians I’ve read, I can add them here.)
How about you? Are you addicted to reading? (And what is it, if not an addiction?) Or do you prefer not to read either because you don’t like to, or because you prefer to come to your writing with a clean slate? Either way works I guess. I just wouldn’t be happy unless I’m in the midst of 3 or 4 books, minimum.
So with that, if you’ll excuse me, I have a few pages of one of my books to read before I fall asleep. ‘Nite all!