Tuesday, January 31, 2017

IWSG: Writing + Reading . . . Does One Influence the Other?

The Insecure Writer's Support Group is a community of writers who share ideas and encourage other writers. It's a great place to express doubts and concerns as well as offer and receive tribulations and guidance from other writers. IWSG posts the first Wednesday of every month. I think you'll find it to be a great writer's resource that's well worth your time. Be sure to stop by and visit with some of the other IWSG writers/bloggers at IWSG Members.

A great big thank you to our awesome February Co-Hosts: 
Misha Gericke
LK Hill
Juneta Key
Joylene Buter

How has being a writer changed your experience as a reader?

I've been a voracious reader my entire life. Reading - escaping to other worlds - was the only thing that kept me sane through some tough early years. I know it dates me, but I'll admit that during long summers out of school, the highlight of my week was the bookmobile! The selection was limited, but I wasn't picky. I'd read anything! Today, I'm a bit more
selective about what I read, but having said that . . . I'm still a voracious reader often reading and reviewing more than a dozen books each month. My problem is finding a happy balance between reading and writing since they are competing for my time.

I've also always been a writer - although I haven't always pursued writing as a career.  As a young girl, I started off recording my days, weeks, years in a diary . . . again, a form of escape, I think.  While other students bemoaned writing assignments, I welcomed them with vigor and excitement.  I wrote stories, poems, reports, songs - filling notebook after notebook after notebook.  No computer - but somewhere down the road, I got an old manual typewriter and was in heaven! (I still have that typewriter!)  Yes, again that dates me, I know! lol  

Fast forward to today.  I am finally pursuing my writing with determination and consistency . . . making it a priority.  How has that changed my experience as a reader?  For one thing, it's given me a greater appreciation of the awesome talent and work ethnic of many published authors.  I realize the many hours and personal sacrifice it takes to get from Page One to The End and admire anyone who can successfully complete that journey.  I recognize the difference between a good solid book and one that goes the extra mile and just blows me away with the expert weaving of multiple plot lines and well developed characters - one that also utilizes setting to set the mood - almost like another character.  

At the same time, I find myself reading books with a more critical eye than I did before actively pursuing writing.  I'm a more demanding reader, one that expects not perfection - but rather a unique story that holds me enthralled.  In other words, I'm no longer a reader so easily satisfied with the status quo - I want and demand more.  The other thing I'm more aware of is editing issues, including grammar usage and the dreaded typos and spelling errors.  I was, I believe, a bit more forgiving of those type issues in my "pre-writing" days.  Now, they are an immediate turn-off for me.

So yes, being a writer has influenced my reading.  But . . . being a reader has also greatly influenced my writing.  I've discovered some excellent "writing role models" through my reading, and  I strive every day to make sure I offer no less to my own readers.

How has writing changed your experience as a reader?


  1. I love this post. Becoming a writer has definitely changed what I like to read. And, reading more improves my writing. I agree with you about grammar and editing. Those are things I really wouldn't have noticed much before I started writing, but now I notice them a lot. I think I still like the same kinds of stories, but I am more critical of the things I read because I notice more as a writer.

  2. My eyes have definitely been opened! I know I'm a much more critical reader than before. I think that's okay as I still explore work by new writers (just finished a debut novel that goes on my Favorites List!), even as I continue to indulge in authors on my favorite list. At the same time, reading has taught me a lot about writing. I believe it was King that said, "you can't be a writer without first being a reader." (or something like that) I believe it!

  3. What you said! And I loved the Bookmobile!! My mom said if I could reach it, I could read it and boy, could I stretch!

    1. LOL Nancy! Somehow, I knew you were a "Bookmobile Sister"! I always checked out my limit, devoured them in a few days, & was waiting for the next visit. And by the way - you are one awesome role model. Thank you!

  4. Good point about how you're reading has also influenced your writing. That's definitely true if me. Great post! Kudos to you for pursuing your writing. Good luck! 💖

  5. Thanks L.K. I've learned a lot from reading...as I said - there are some great writing role models out there. I've just got to balance my reading time with my writing time. Hard to do!

  6. I love that you included the good and the bad. I forgot all about the good side to reading books as a writer. I only thought of the bad, but you're right that it does make me appreciate the process and hard work so much more now that I know what it takes.

    1. Yes, it does Chrys! I am so thankful for all I've learned by reading some great authors!