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?



8 comments:

  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.

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  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!

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  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!

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    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!

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  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! 💖

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  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!

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  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.

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

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