October 4, 2011

Readers Write

Readers write. It is that simple.

If you are a book blogger, you read books and write a review. If you are a student, you read classwork and write a report. If you are a leisure reader, you read magazines/newspapers and may write notes. Even in this age of social networking, you read Facebook status updates and tweets on your Twitter timeline, then write a reply. Again, readers write.

A few years ago, I started a fiction novel. I wrote a few chapters and showed it to close friends and family for input. Everyone urged me to go on. Like so many others, I eventually threw it to the side and never finished. Instead I started co-writing a different novel with a business partner of mine. Again, we started off strong and then slowly stopped writing. Both stories are very good (and I'm not just saying that because it is my work). The more books I read, the more I want to resume writing. Nowadays, everyone thinks it is possible to be a published author. With self-publishing, everyone really can be. But it takes a reader to be a successful writer.

I pulled a book from the bottom of my TBR pile: Letters to a Fiction Writer edited by Frederick Busch. It is a collection of inspiring letters from respected fiction writers. I'd like to share some of the great tips from John Steinbeck:

  • Abandon the idea that you are ever going to finish. Write just one page for each day. Then when it gets finished, you are always surprised.
  • Never correct or rewrite until the whole thing is down.
  • Forget the generalized audience. Pick out one person and write to that one.
  • If you are using dialogue, say it aloud as you write it.

I'm going to take these tips and hopefully start writing again soon. I already read a lot, so it's high time to start writing a lot too.

Do you agree reading and writing go hand in hand? Do you believe readers write? Share your thoughts or tips.

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