This post is the fourth of a series of six blogs that I’ll write as a participant in the Blog Hop for Writers started by Ruth Snyder. Once you read my post you should “HOP” on over to see what the other writers have to say.
The fourth topic of the six on the Blog Hop is “Advice I’d Give a Newbie Writer”
Now, I still consider myself a newbie. Of course I’ve been writing since I could hold one of those chunky pencils in my hand, but I didn’t start classifying myself as a “writer-writer” until about ten years ago. That’s when I sat down to create my first novel.
It was an everyday commitment. I scribbled for hours and hours in notebooks while my baby slept and then plugged away in the early hours of the morning to get what I wrote into a computer. It was something I had to do; otherwise I wouldn’t have done it. Writing is hard work. It drains you and most of the other aspects of your life suffer for your commitment.
That being said, I wouldn’t change it either.
The most important thing I can say to someone who wants to write is you have to read.
It is so funny to me to hear people say that they want to write a book but in the same breath they admit they don’t READ.
If you don’t read, how can you know how to write?
If you don’t read, why would you even want to write?
When I was a teacher, reading was the thing I harped on more than anything else. If you can read there is nothing you can’t do. Reading opens up worlds you can never know on your own and to get practical about it, you can read how to do anything.
For a writer, that would mean reading books on craft. It is so important.
But more important, is to read book after book after book in the genre you will be writing. You have to write what you love or the reader will know it. Trust me on that. Even before I dreamed of writing Young Adult books, I was reading them. I devoured them.
Now I look at this reading as more than just stories. It’s research.
Look at it this way: Haven’t you read a book and you got lost in the words. Before you know it, you were up all night because you couldn’t stand the thought of not knowing what happened next? Haven’t you also read a book and for some reason you felt nothing for the characters? The plot was solid, but the writing didn’t take you anywhere?
That is you as a critic. Your inner voice telling you what is good and what is just…<shrug>.
I want my stories to be the former…ones that eat you up and won’t spit you out until you reach the back cover.
Will I ever get there? I don’t know, but I read each day like a man starving for words. Every single book I finish helps me become what I want to be: a better writer.