The Importance of reading for writers

Young-man-reading-a-book-001

BHE (for new readers BHE stands for “Best Husband Ever”) recent gave me a great book called “Daily Rituals: How Artists Work” by Mason Currey. It is a novel that tells you about process famous artists had when creating their art. Reading about the process of others, made me think about my own.

When I was writing “The Role” my process followed this structure:

7:00-7:30 a.m.             Wake up

7:30 – 9:00 a.m.          Free time

9:00-10:00 a.m.           Read a piece of fiction in the POV and tense of my novel. (1st person, present tense)

10:00 a.m. – ????         Write a minimum of 1,500 words.

2:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.  Take a walk (or do Pilates if it is raining)

3:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.  If I hadn’t finished my work count I would write to that. If I had met it and was mentally exhausted I would consider this free time.

Understanding and accepting my process is still something I am doing, but there is one aspect of my process I wanted to highlight today.

Reading.

Reading others really helped me in structure, plotting, and just generally making my story feel like a novel. You can learn a lot from excellent authors by engaging with their stories in a critical way. While I usually just enjoy novels that take me on a journey, examining how their writing swept me away was one of the best lessons I ever learned.

So if you are struggling in your writing I suggest you read an old favorite and examine why it is an a favorite of yours. Try and inject some of that magic into your manuscript.

The Power of Failure

tiredrunner

So it has been a long time since I blogged about anything, and the main reason is I’ve been incredibly busy. I could dwell on the events of the past few weeks, but I think a few bullet points will get everyone up to speed to today’s topic:

  • I am now represented by Eric Ruben of the Ruben Literary Agency. To read about that story click here.
  • I have been working a lot. In one two week period I was able to bill almost 40 hours of overtime. That means that in the course of 2 weeks I almost worked the equivalent of three.
  • BHE and I are in the process of getting a house. We’ve already had our bid accepted, we just have to get the loan and inspection stuff done.

That’s not everything, but it’s enough. Anyway, so today I was thinking about what I wanted to blog about. I came up with the power of defeat. If you had found me on January 1, 2013 and told me that by Mid-May I would be so busy I’d have to bullet points major milestones in my life, I’d have said you were crazy. I was so down on myself. I had a lot of aspirations for 2013 but I was guarded with my hope. I knew what a longshot many of them were. I’m happy to report the important ones have seemed to have been accomplished. Part of that is the confidence that comes with being employed. I feel useful, and even when my job has been difficult, I’ve always felt thankful to have it.

I don’t think anyone has ever enjoyed failing, but, for me, a lot of good has come from my failures. There is generally a moment where my brain just clicks and everything that I saw as an obstacle becomes a stepping stone. Many of us wish to teleport from our current location to the goal, but the journey is necessary most of the time. It’s not always going to be fun, but it will make sure that once you’ve crossed over the finish line you are ready for what awaits on the other side.