One of my 2014 goals is to improve as a writer. I’ve always been decent, but I’m smart enough to know I have a long way to go to be considered good. I’ve never read a Stephen King novel, but for whatever reason I decided to ask for a copy of his book On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft for Christmas, which I received from my mother.
I am thoroughly enjoying this book, as I was told I would by my many literary friends. I don’t intend to do a full review because I don’t do a good job with reviews (I’m only a little over half way through anyhow). I did want to offer three short passages from its pages, just to whet your appetite.
On the subject of why it’s important for writers to read:
So we read to experience the mediocre and the outright rotten; such experience helps us to recognize those things when they begin to creep into our own work, and to steer clear of them. We also read in order to measure ourselves against the good and the great, to get a sense of all that can be done. And we read in order to experience different styles.
You have to read widely, constantly refining (and redefining) you own work as you do so. It’s hard for me to believe that people who read very little (or not at all in some cases) should presume to write and expect people to like what they have written…
If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have the time (or the tools) to write. Simple as that.
What do you think? Can you be a good writer and not a prolific reader?