By JC Lynne
David Sharp offered us some great advice last month. It does us good to hear it repeated. Effective frequency or some such thing. It's advice we've heard from Stephen King, Annie Dillard, Phillip Pullman, and Erasmus to name a few. Writers must be readers.
|I Culled Mine Down to Essentials.|
Yes, I'm sure your shelves hold some of the same writing books found on mine. As writers, we never stop working to improve our craft. Just the other day, Kristin Owens dropped the title of The Emotion Thesaurus: A Writer's Guide to Character Expression.
Oh yeah, it's in my Amazon shopping cart. Some books I must hold in my hand rather than have on my tablet.
I can devote time to reading craft books with ease. Research proves no impediment to my reading efforts. It's the devoting time to reading with the pure intention of reading that kills me every time. Even if the book is essentially homework (interesting tidbit: agents give homework).
Like most of you, I grew up a passionate reader who spent hours devouring the shelves at the library. I've read so many books I've found myself reading one eerily familiar and realized halfway through I read it already.
Yet now, writing my mostly full-time gig, it's a herculean feat to stop and read a book.
Never trust anyone who has not brought a book with them.
Reading is a uniquely self-indulgent act.
If you sit, book or tablet open, focused on the page it's impossible to accomplish anything else. In my job as a writer, I must devote hours to putting words on the page with little or no external distraction. It seems sinful to sit and do nothing but read.
That said, I've made an hour appointment each day to spend with a slew of mysteries (I have fifty pages of a murder mystery due) to prime my brain in the pacing and style. Okay, it's a little bit homework, but it's also a return to what made me a writer.
I know what I'm reading at the moment.
Two NPR recommended reads:
Meddling Kids: A Novel
Spoonbenders: A Novel
Mark Stevens recommended I read (in addition to about five other books):
Under The Harrow
Our own Laura Mahal recommended I read:
What's in YOUR wallet?