I know I’m always harping about how you need to be a reader if you hope to be a writer. I’ve yelled at you plenty and yet it doesn’t seem to be sinking in. So, today I think I’ll try a different tactic.
Reading isn’t just necessary to write well; it can also inspire you.
Case in point: I was reading a book the other day, really appreciating the author’s style and wit, yet I noticed that every few minutes, I kept leaping up from my comfy reading spot and heading over to my laptop to jot down a few sentences of my own.
Truth be told, I was almost manic—every time I read another good line in the author’s book, a good one of my own would pop into my head.
See that? Reading—not some cheesy Greek goddess—is the best muse.
The odd thing is that even among writers who seem to understand how vital reading is to the writing process, there is a whole clan of people who say they stop reading for as long as they’re working on their own piece of writing.
Whenever I hear someone say this, my immediate response is:
Here’s the thing: If you’re a true reader, a true writer, a true “book person” overall, it’s not physically or psychologically possible to STOP writing OR reading.
To try to stop doing either would be like trying to stop breathing or eating (and still staying alive). It simply can’t be done.
And before you start whining and saying you’re afraid to read books while you’re writing for fear that you might inadvertently copy another author’s style, don’t forget that there are TONS of books, in all kinds of genres, out in the world. If you’re writing fantasy, you can be reading biography. If you’re writing science, you can be reading humor.
All I’m saying is that you need to be reading AND you need to be writing. The muse only shows up to do her job when you’re doing yours—all of it.