IWSG: On Reading and Writing

The first Wednesday of every month is the Insecure Writer's Support Group posting day, where writers can express their doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It's a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds! Check it out here and join if you want support with your writing. 
Let’s rock the neurotic writing world!

Our Twitter handle is @TheIWSG and hashtag is #IWSG.

Every month, we announce a question that members can answer in their IWSG post. These questions may prompt you to share advice, insight, a personal experience or story. Include your answer to the question in your IWSG post or let it inspire your post if you are struggling with something to say. 
Remember, the question is optional!
October 2 question - It's been said that the benefits of becoming a writer who does not read is that all your ideas are new and original. Everything you do is an extension of yourself, instead of a mixture of you and another author. On the other hand, how can you expect other people to want your writing, if you don't enjoy reading? What are your thoughts?

The awesome co-hosts for the October 2 posting of the IWSG are Ronel Janse van Vuuren, Mary Aalgaard, Madeline Mora-Summonte, and Ellen @ The Cynical Sailor!

I have to admit that I'm a bit shocked by writers who don't read. For one thing, why do you even want to write if you don't like to read? But it goes deeper than that. I learned what a good story looks like by reading stories, good and bad. I learned what good writing was by reading writing good, bad, and indifferent. As a child, I didn't distinguish and didn't even find many books I didn't like, but as I matured, I began to look at what I read and to understand why this book was a truly moving book, that one thought-provoking, this one an engaging bit of brain candy and that one really not worth reading even on the beach.

I also learned good grammar and sentence structure by exposure, which is not 100% reliable but is perhaps more reliable than trying to memorize a bunch of rules.

As for the worry about influences and mixing ourselves with the writers we read, any student of literature knows that influences can be traced to and from the greatest writers: Geoffrey Chaucer and William Shakespeare both cribbed tales from Virgil and Ovid, and endless writers have borrowed from those two. I have learned not to worry about undue influences on my writing: as I have learned to be a writer, my own voice has become strong enough to grow and improve as I read and think about other books, without being overwritten.

To me, that is the essence of reading as a writer.

Now, then, there's also just reading for fun. Turn off the author brain and enjoy a book for it's own sake, too!


This post has gone up automatically. I am currently away from cell coverage, but will return all visits as soon as I can, and hope to visit a few more besides, before next month's post comes around!


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