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Melanii
12-30-2014, 05:22 PM
Reading is how one gets better at writing. We all know that.

Let's say I have no job and 40 hours a week of absolute free time. I only read about 3 to 4 hours total during the whole week. I have like 3 books sitting around with bookmarks in them.

This is bad, right? I used to read a lot more as a child. Now a days I play games and try to make them, I draw, I browse the internet, I nap, etc. reading is not always my too priorty.

I'm terrible. XD

Lhowling
12-30-2014, 05:28 PM
You read as much as you can, or need to. There's no minimum. Hell, I have to steal reading time in between writing... which means toilet breaks and during mealtime. And I'm cutting down on how much I write in the later months to make room for reading, among other fun things I love to do.

It sounds like you have other priorities, game design being one of them. That's understandable and quite honestly if that's what you need to do right now, then do it and don't worry about whether it's right or wrong. Everyone has their own set of priorities when it comes to how much they read or write. If you don't like the fact that you're not reading enough, then make more time and cut back on activities that are not worth your attention. Of course, which activities you think are worth cutting back on is up to you.

Marian Perera
12-30-2014, 05:48 PM
Reading is how one gets better at writing. We all know that.

Let's say I have no job and 40 hours a week of absolute free time. I only read about 3 to 4 hours total during the whole week. I have like 3 books sitting around with bookmarks in them.

This is bad, right?

Depends on what you want.

If I wanted to lose weight, my exercising maybe an hour a week at best would be bad.

If I didn't want to lose weight, then my doing other things, having priorities other than exercise, would be fine.

The only "should I be reading?" threads that make me roll my eyes are where the OP seems to want to become a better writer, but hates reading or makes up excuses why he/she can't read. If you want to be a game designer instead, go for it.

Osulagh
12-30-2014, 06:04 PM
Reading is how one gets better at writing. We all know that.

You get better at writing by having a good command of the language--however you do that is up to you. Reading is one way you can do that, and it's rather hard to avoid reading while writing. So, "Reading is how one can get better at writing."

I bring this up because, just reading a ton won't make you a better writer. Analyzing the writing to determine how it works, why it works, and how effectively it does work can help your writing. But if you're just speed reading through book after book, or dragging your way through them because you believe reading will somehow magically make you a better writer, it's not going to help.

Jamesaritchie
12-30-2014, 06:12 PM
Yes, it's bad. It's horrible. Unfortunately, you aren't alone. People make the same excuses for not reading as they make for not writing.

Jamesaritchie
12-30-2014, 06:15 PM
You get better at writing by having a good command of the language--however you do that is up to you. Reading is one way you can do that, and it's rather hard to avoid reading while writing. So, "Reading is how one can get better at writing."

I bring this up because, just reading a ton won't make you a better writer. Analyzing the writing to determine how it works, why it works, and how effectively it does work can help your writing. But if you're just speed reading through book after book, or dragging your way through them because you believe reading will somehow magically make you a better writer, it's not going to help.

Writing fiction has only a little bit to do with command of language. It's more about story and character, pace and flow, mood and tone, etc. I don't think anyone mentioned speed reading, but if you don't read, and read often, you'll never be a good writer. It simply is not going to happen.

Reading a ton most certainly will make you a far better writer, and not much of anything else will.

chompers
12-30-2014, 06:40 PM
I wasn't joking about learning through osmosis. Besides learning new trivia, when you read a lot, you get used to how things should properly look. This is why it can get confusing when, for instance, many characters' actions are lumped together into one paragraph. We don't know who's doing what. What we're used to seeing is that each character's actions gets put into their own paragraph. The breaks give the brain that cue that it's switched to another character.

Reading also helps you develop that ear for rhythm in the written word.

You don't HAVE to read a lot. But if you don't, writing is going to be much, much harder. And if writing is not your priority, that's your choice. Ain't nothing wrong in that.

P.S. I hate reading. Yes, I said it. But I still did a lot of reading.

KTC
12-30-2014, 06:54 PM
I adore reading. Why, I swear I prefer it to breathing. But if I beat myself up each time I couldn't afford the time to read...I'd be black and blue. I just had a novel come out this month and I have another coming out on the 19th. And I have three novels nearing completion...and an agent looking for one of them to be delivered to her.

Honestly, the only time I've been able to read lately is when I'm on the subway. So, I'm reading about half and hour a week at the moment. Believe me, I'd love to beat myself up over this. Black and blue. I miss it so much. It's true...you really do get better at writing the more you read. I feel I'm suffering for not reading. When I try to read at night, I just pass out. Going to bed at 2ish and waking up at 4:30. I'm falling asleep in my life. Opening a book, unless I'm STANDING up in the subway, is a sign to fall asleep.

BethS
12-30-2014, 07:19 PM
I bring this up because, just reading a ton won't make you a better writer.

It depends. One of the reasons I write as well as I do is because I was, from a very young age, a voracious reader. I inhaled books. But I never analyzed them, not until forced to in English class.

However, because of all that reading, I learned (absorbed, really) what a story is. I learned the rhythms and rules of language. I learned vocabulary. I learned the sound of good dialogue (and bad, too).

I didn't know all that was taking root, but I certainly reaped the harvest later on. And continue to reap it.

I'm not sure this holds true for everyone. Not everyone who reads a lot has the aptitude for or even an interest in writing. But I do think most good writers are also good and enthusiastic readers.

KTC
12-30-2014, 07:23 PM
Yeah...the way I look at it, the more one reads the more one SEES the scaffolding of story. I truly believe it matters. I believe reading a ton WILL make you a better writer...if, indeed, you are wired to be a writer. Writing in a tunnel-like cone of self-induced I'm-wonderful-and-I-don't-need-to-read-to-write-amazing-shit silence is a recipe for disaster. I've seen the outcome...when 'writers' say they don't read. Inevitably, it shows in their writing.

Melanii
12-30-2014, 07:57 PM
It sounds like you have other priorities, game design being one of them. That's understandable and quite honestly if that's what you need to do right now, then do it and don't worry about whether it's right or wrong. Everyone has their own set of priorities when it comes to how much they read or write. If you don't like the fact that you're not reading enough, then make more time and cut back on activities that are not worth your attention. Of course, which activities you think are worth cutting back on is up to you.

I don't *need* to design games, but it sure is fun. And I have plenty of time to read, and I don't actually hate reading. I actually have no idea why I just don't and instead do other things. Right now I'm looking at books and putting some on my to-read list. o.o


If you want to be a game designer instead, go for it.

The thought of writing a book and completing it, still excites me. So there's no *instead*, really. It's just... I don't know.

I don't know what I'm talking about.


I wasn't joking about learning through osmosis. Besides learning new trivia, when you read a lot, you get used to how things should properly look. This is why it can get confusing when, for instance, many characters' actions are lumped together into one paragraph. We don't know who's doing what. What we're used to seeing is that each character's actions gets put into their own paragraph. The breaks give the brain that cue that it's switched to another character.

Reading also helps you develop that ear for rhythm in the written word.

You don't HAVE to read a lot. But if you don't, writing is going to be much, much harder. And if writing is not your priority, that's your choice. Ain't nothing wrong in that.

At least I read a little? o.o Right? It feels like I learn things while reading, but as I've mentioned in another thread, I forget most of it.

My brain likes to create a little paradox where I realize... "If I read a lot of badly written books, yet I still enjoy them, then won't my writing be just as bad too?"


Writing fiction has only a little bit to do with command of language. It's more about story and character, pace and flow, mood and tone, etc. I don't think anyone mentioned speed reading, but if you don't read, and read often, you'll never be a good writer. It simply is not going to happen.

Reading a ton most certainly will make you a far better writer, and not much of anything else will.

It's probably why I'm no good (contrary of people saying I AM). I can't remember the pose, pace, flow, etc. of anything. I kind of just... write. o.o

Ari Meermans
12-30-2014, 08:03 PM
Just this morning in another thread, Old Hack wrote
You must read, both widely and deeply, if you want to write. There's no way around this.

If you do not read both deeply and widely, you cannot have the tools necessary to write with any depth yourself. You won't have the mastery of language to evoke time, place, or emotion in your scenes. So, yes, a strong command of the language is vital when writing fiction.

If your reading time is limited, then read with purpose. Mark or make note of those sentence fragments and passages that pulled you into the story, that set the scene for you, that made you see, feel, and taste; and teach yourself how to incorporate that into your own work. It will make your own writing richer. If you would write well, you must read.

Marian Perera
12-30-2014, 08:47 PM
The thought of writing a book and completing it, still excites me. So there's no *instead*, really. It's just... I don't know.

The thought of putting on scuba diving equipment and getting into a shark cage excites me.

On the other hand, I can't dive, have never worn scuba gear, have never so much as touched a shark cage, and have no concrete plans to do so in the near future. I've got other priorities at the moment.

IMO, it's fine to have castles-in-the-sky ideas like "one day I'll design a gorgeous wedding dress" or "one day I'll write an interesting book". It really depends on what you want.

If you're not sure what you want, then that's different from "I want to be a good writer, but I don't want to read".

Melanii
12-30-2014, 08:59 PM
I want to write, but I just don't read as much as I want to. I like looking at books, smelling them, and touching their covers. I enjoy opening them up and looking at the words and taking in the wonderful stories. And I like how they aren't as restrictive as TV or games.

I just can't seem to force myself to sit down and read as much as I can. I have so much time I could probably finish 3 books a week if I tried, but I just don't. I have no idea why.

I finished a book last week, and I loved it. I read the blurbs of so many books and I'm like "this sounds awesome".

Actually, I realize that when I read, then write, I get more excited and confident to sit down and write.

Right now, I feel like my ideas are dried up. Like I'm having trouble thinking of how to make things *make sense*. The last time I read was a couple of days ago. My 800 page "in-between" book. XD

Lhowling
12-30-2014, 09:47 PM
Sorry if I inferred your love of game design as a need. I just noticed you mentioned it on a couple of other threads and it suggests to me that it may take up more time for you... which is okay. Everyone has their respective interests. You just have to make the most of your time when you write.


I want to write, but I just don't read as much as I want to.

Do you feel like you need to read more in order to write?


I like looking at books, smelling them, and touching their covers. I enjoy opening them up and looking at the words and taking in the wonderful stories. And I like how they aren't as restrictive as TV or games.

I like the smells of old books. Particularly library books. The process of opening a book is definitely part of the reading experience. Do you put any of that energy into focusing on the writing used to make the story you're reading wonderful? I know you mentioned you had trouble with memorizing; do you feel distracted by other things that it makes it hard to focus on the writing itself?



I just can't seem to force myself to sit down and read as much as I can. I have so much time I could probably finish 3 books a week if I tried, but I just don't. I have no idea why.

Actually, I realize that when I read, then write, I get more excited and confident to sit down and write.

Well, forcing yourself isn't going to help! Reading can be as isolating as writing, so you have to approach it as a relaxing, leisurely habit instead of a chore. Any other way will make it less enjoyable and, thus, make you less likely to read.

Also, is there a particular reason why you need to read that many books a week as opposed to, say, 3 books per month? You could learn to speed read; but I don't know how helpful it can be if you can't take something away that is a skill used to improve your writing. For me, I can only maybe do a book a month. But, it gives me time to absorb what I've read. Like you, I also get so inspired from reading a passage. I can't help but put the book down and begin to write. That makes finishing the book drag on for a few more days or weeks. But, it's obviously helping me so why try and rush?

If I could absorb what I learn from reading faster, I would. But it isn't a priority for me. Does it need to be a priority to you?


Right now, I feel like my ideas are dried up. Like I'm having trouble thinking of how to make things *make sense*.

Personally, I find the more that I read or write the more ideas I get. I also tend to be more conceptual; themes fascinate me and I use stories to explore the themes that get me off. That's usually why I need to write an outline and scenes so I don't go on a tangent. Anywho, I become as familiar with those themes as I can be. Research plays a big role in writing and can help you come up with ideas for your stories. For example, if you're fascinated by the paranormal, read up on obituaries or the horoscopes in the local newspaper. Go to the library and look up ghost stories or infamous crimes committed in your neighborhood... or any hood for that matter! There are many places you can go to get ideas. But, if you think too much about how to get those ideas, or how much of them you're getting, then you're distracting yourself. And distraction can be a time waster.

Hapax Legomenon
12-30-2014, 10:00 PM
Well, reading only 3-4 hours a week may be more or less bad depending on how fast you read.

Also I think you have to be more careful on what you designate as reading. Is the only useful reading reading fiction? Because, I mean, you're reading my post right now. If you spend a lot of time online, you probably spend a lot of time reading.

Melanii
12-31-2014, 12:09 AM
^^ I read fiction mostly within the genre I wish to write, as well as books that simply interest me no matter the genre. :D

Lhowling is right, though. I read, and it may not be all the time or as much, but I still do, and I do it because I want to. o.o

Polenth
12-31-2014, 12:47 AM
Though reading is important, I think there's an over-emphasis at times on sheer quantity of reading... which can be daunting for anyone who doesn't read that quickly. There's nothing wrong with being a slower reader or needing breaks between books, as long as you are reading on a regular basis.

There's a big difference between "I don't really have to read as a writer, do I?" and "I like to read, but I don't read as much as some people." You seem to be in the latter category, which isn't a problem. I don't read as much as some people either, but I am reading.

jjdebenedictis
12-31-2014, 01:50 AM
You know what's really not good? Beating yourself up.

All self-criticism accomplishes is making you feel bad, which demoralizes you, which negatively impacts your ability to do anything. It actually makes things worse, to berate yourself.

So don't do that. And congratulations -- you read regularly! You know how many people don't do that at all? You are awesome!

As for whether you need to read more? No, you don't, but it might put you at a handicap if you don't. But so what? We all have things that get in the way of reaching our full potential, and congratulations again! The thing you're worried about is something you can easily work on. You're lucky! This is a good thing.

Read and write. Every little bit helps. Don't disparage yourself ever, because everything you do is helping, no exceptions. Every step you take, no matter how small, is a step in the right direction. Congratulate yourself for every one, because there is no merit at all in scolding yourself for successes just because they were small successes.

Lillith1991
12-31-2014, 04:34 AM
You know what's really not good? Beating yourself up.

All self-criticism accomplishes is making you feel bad, which demoralizes you, which negatively impacts your ability to do anything. It actually makes things worse, to berate yourself.

So don't do that. And congratulations -- you read regularly! You know how many people don't do that at all? You are awesome!

As for whether you need to read more? No, you don't, but it might put you at a handicap if you don't. But so what? We all have things that get in the way of reaching our full potential, and congratulations again! The thing you're worried about is something you can easily work on. You're lucky! This is a good thing.

Read and write. Every little bit helps. Don't disparage yourself ever, because everything you do is helping, no exceptions. Every step you take, no matter how small, is a step in the right direction. Congratulate yourself for every one, because there is no merit at all in scolding yourself for successes just because they were small successes.

I don't know that I would say never be disappointed that you aren't doing more of something you want when there's no valid excuse not to do whatever it is. It isn't whether you think about how you should be reading more, practicing your swordsmanship more etc., and feeling crappy for not doing so which is the issue. The issue is what you do to make yourself feel better. Do you wallow and go on doing the same thing, therefore just waiting for the next wave of failure to hit? Or do you instead do something to change the action, making yourself feel better in the process?

Deciding to change an action, and making a plan of attack to fix said thing is actually very soothing. The hard part is sticking to whatever you've come up with.

Lillith1991
12-31-2014, 04:44 AM
My brain likes to create a little paradox where I realize... "If I read a lot of badly written books, yet I still enjoy them, then won't my writing be just as bad too?"

Not nessecarily. What exactly is a good or well written book? I find the best are those with good prose, good pacing, characterization, setting, and story. But something can have crappy prose and still draw people in. That's what I think of Twilight. Her prose, research, and reasoning seems shoddy to me. Not to mention Bella the cardboard cut out. But the people I know who like it despite acknowledging these issues with it when discussed say the story itself is good. If nothing else, that is what you learn from a bad book. What the writer did right, because they did something right or people wouldn't actually enjoy it, and what they did wrong. Being able to identify such things in another persons writing helps do so in your own.

blacbird
12-31-2014, 06:35 AM
In my more youthful less chronologically successful days, I was a basketball player. You want to know how you learn to play basketball?

1. You play a hell of a lot of basketball.
2. You watch others, who are good at it, play a hell of a lot of basketball.

You need any more advice about how to become better at writing?

caw

Bufty
12-31-2014, 04:12 PM
If you want to write, write.

If you don't want to, don't.

Filigree
12-31-2014, 04:48 PM
Not to be cruel, but if you want to write, your mind will find ways to let you do it. Maybe not all the time, but enough. The act of writing is as much a learned skill as cooking. Once you demystify the process and learn how to take it in small steps, it's easier.

Reading a lot is part of it, but only if you figured out how to dissect both your reading and how you react to it. Games, movies, and television can help teach some aspects of storytelling, so I don't think you should beat yourself up about that, either.

For me, it boiled down to recognizing the difference between loving the moments I spent writing, and my longing to have written something tangible. Once I got over the latter, it actually became possible.

buz
12-31-2014, 05:06 PM
I don't know that I would say never be disappointed that you aren't doing more of something you want when there's no valid excuse not to do whatever it is. It isn't whether you think about how you should be reading more, practicing your swordsmanship more etc., and feeling crappy for not doing so which is the issue. The issue is what you do to make yourself feel better. Do you wallow and go on doing the same thing, therefore just waiting for the next wave of failure to hit? Or do you instead do something to change the action, making yourself feel better in the process?

Deciding to change an action, and making a plan of attack to fix said thing is actually very soothing. The hard part is sticking to whatever you've come up with.

I think it depends on the individual how soothing it is...;)

Sometimes, you decide to change, make a plan, follow through with said plan, and then feel relief for a moment before you decide that really wasn't good enough. And over and over and so forth and so on.

I have sometimes found that my plans of attack don't actually fix whatever I'm trying to fix, or they get me so far and then I'm in a hole again, which is the opposite of soothing; but I'm also not exactly the soundest of mind ;)

So...well. It depends. :D Sometimes the problem is reconciling expectation with action and that's enough, but sometimes the problem is the expectation itself. Internal settings and stuff. It's hard to say for another person :) But you're right, it is worth pointing out that making a plan and following through can be quite beneficial, depending on other circumstances.

To the OP: Reading a few hours a week sounds fine to me. I actually spend most of my time not reading (fiction, anyway; I read little non-fiction articles and such--which, don't exclude nonfiction entirely; it's quite fascinating :D), and then go through binge periods. In the interim, I critique stuff and I write stuff and I try to work out the plotting of writing stuff.

Although--I'm not exactly a paragon of success over here. :D Perhaps a bad example.

I dunno. As long as you're reading, I think, you're taking those necessary steps.


The thought of putting on scuba diving equipment and getting into a shark cage excites me.

On the other hand, I can't dive, have never worn scuba gear, have never so much as touched a shark cage, and have no concrete plans to do so in the near future. I've got other priorities at the moment.


You don't have to know how to dive and the scuba equipment is minimal-ish. :D Well, at least on the boat I went on--the regulator is just attached to a hose that goes up to the boat, rather than tanks on your back; you're right below the surface of the water. You don't have to bother about stuff like buoyancy and decompression and whatnot ;) (Though I still needed the Valsalva maneuver :p )

'Course you may be talking about something else...but don't let lack of diving knowledge stop you if all you want is the cage and the sharks :D (The expense might stop you, though, depending on where you live and where you want to go...my savings account went bye-bye :p )

Hapax Legomenon
12-31-2014, 09:08 PM
^^ I read fiction mostly within the genre I wish to write, as well as books that simply interest me no matter the genre. :D

My point was that most people read much more than they realize. It's just because they're not reading an actual book that they don't think it counts as reading.

Like, I can say that I mostly read fantasy and science fiction, but in reality most of my reading is probably online articles... and probably most of those are about food.

Melanii
12-31-2014, 10:03 PM
If you want to write, write.

If you don't want to, don't.


Not to be cruel, but if you want to write, your mind will find ways to let you do it. Maybe not all the time, but enough. The act of writing is as much a learned skill as cooking. Once you demystify the process and learn how to take it in small steps, it's easier.

You're not being cruel.

If... I'm not writing, despite kind of wanting to, then...

What if I'm more excited about the notion of getting my name on some book and my story in pages?

But... If don't write... Then...

No, I want to. It's just this depression. It's making me question everything, ask these stupid questions, and whatever else. It's terrible.

I read enough. More than most people who want to be writers. I should've figured this.

><

I'm sorry if I'm a bit annoying. o.o

Layla Nahar
01-01-2015, 08:04 PM
I'd like to suggest removing the word 'should' from your vocabulary. 'Should' is a great to set up obligation, and then you can fail at it, and beat yourself up about something. (The 2nd sentence here refers to the general 'you'.) Someone suggested rephrasing every 'should' sentence with 'want'. "I should practice guitar more." --> "I want to practice guitar more."* When you say them, you will have a different emotional reaction. You can ask yourself, as a result, what is really true? There is a lot to be said of the idea that every one of us is always doing what we really want to do... (Even though we think something else is better)


(Honestly, the new sentence would be much better phrased as "I want to *play* guitar more" since 'practice' has much more of a sense of drudgery and obligation, but play has a sense of pleasure/fun/joy what have you. Scales can be a pleasure if you think of them in a way that allows to see them as something fun.)

Filigree
01-01-2015, 09:39 PM
Yes. Take 'should' out of the equation. Depression is a sneaky condition, in that it finds many different ways to derail people. Expectations set up unrealistic goals, which set up more depression.

Higher animals learn by play - a challenging new skillset is disguised by fun activities. The brain develops a positive association with the activity and the skill. At some point, that can become hard, necessary, desperate work. But play was the channel by which it was learned first.

Enjoy at least something about the act of writing, with no expectation of outside gain. Remember how those wonderful I-can-write-anything! moments feel, for those times when you can't. The human brain really can't seem to tell the difference between remembered and active emotions, and our memories are a constantly re-written melange.

Most of all, try to compartmentalize your wish to see your name on a book. That's how vanity publishers snare writers. Rather, focus on wanting to tell your stories. Wanting to know what the characters do next. Or what is just beyond that mountain range you just included as set dressing.

Homework: go look up Neal Peart's lyrics to the Rush song 'Limelight'. It may contain some strategies for you.

StephanieZie
01-05-2015, 06:49 AM
What if I'm more excited about the notion of getting my name on some book and my story in pages?

I 100% understand this. I feel it too. The thing is, though, if you want to have written, you have to write. If you want to have read, you have to read. There is no way around this. There's this idea that gets thrown around that if you don't love every second of writing, you aren't cut out for it, but I don't buy that. There are plenty of activities that I don't love to do, but I love the results of having done them (working out...cleaning my house...studying...). You want your name on that book. I get that. Keep that image in your head. The only way to combat a natural inclination towards listlessness is with an unwavering hunger for self-actualization. From what I've read from you, I think you have that hunger, but self-doubt gets in your way. You really need to bury that. I agree with others who say stop using the word "should" about your activities. There is no single correct path to any aspiration.

And by the way, I don't read as much as I should either. I don't write as much as I should. I let life get in the way everyday. But that is 100% in my control, and I could change it at any time. Reading your posts, I don't get the sense that you feel you are in control of your life. You write things like "I know I should read more, but I just don't and I don't know why." I know why I don't do things I should do. I am lazy and hard-headed and suffer from terrible inertia (not saying any of these things apply to you! These are just my reasons) However, reading back, you do mention you suffer from depression. I'm very sorry. It's such a nasty thing. I hope you are getting help with that. I can't say I've ever experienced serious depression but I do sometimes go through periods when I can't seem to function on a normal level (showering, opening mail, cleaning, etc.) and want to sleep all the time. Maybe mild, situation depression? I always end up having to yank myself out of these funks, sometimes quite forcefully, because I've experienced them often enough to recognize what's happening. I understand mental illness is not always something one has any control over, but my point is that if you can recognize negative patterns of behavior in yourself you can go a long way towards cutting them off before they have a chance to overwhelm you.

I'm rambling now, though, and totally off topic from your original question, so I'll shut up. If you ever want to talk about these issues, though, shoot me a PM!

C.bronco
01-05-2015, 06:55 AM
I tried writing several novels, but never took off and finished one until I followed the advice: write the book that only you could write.

Roxxsmom
01-05-2015, 07:23 AM
Few writers are great at everything related to writing. There are some books where certain aspect of their prose leaves something to be desired, at least as far as our English teachers were concerned, but that doesn't meant their authors are talentless hacks. There's usually something the writer does well that pulls readers in. Maybe it's characterization, or pacing, or their ability to immerse the reader in a setting. Even if they use too many adverbs, or their plots seem predictable.

I know that I read differently than I used to. I not only recognize sentence that seem awkward, especially those ones where I have to read more than one time to understand what the author is saying, and I can explain why. But that doesn't mean I'll throw a book I'm enjoying down because the author (and their editor) goofed a few times.


I tried writing several novels, but never took off and finished one until I followed the advice: write the book that only you could write.

This is a great way of putting it. Another piece of advice I've seen is to write the kind of book you'd love most to read.

Layla Lawlor
01-05-2015, 08:34 AM
Like someone else said earlier, reading is one way you can get better at writing. It's not the only way. Other things that will make you better at writing include: observing people. Talking to people. Thinking about your stories. Doing things that interest you. Living your life. And, of course, writing.

If you enjoy reading and can find time for reading, then read as much as you can! But I don't see any reason to feel like you're damaging your ability to write if you aren't currently reading very much. I am a hugely voracious reader ... sometimes. And then there are times when I'm so busy (or writing so much!) that I don't read very much. For me it goes in cycles. And that's okay. Sometimes I need to take some time off from immersing myself in other people's fictional worlds in order to give my own fictional worlds full play in my creative brain.

I also agree with Filigree that animals learn by playing. Especially when you're in a "just starting out" stage, I think the fun factor is really important. Studying it intensively and making it into "work" can come later. Right now you should do what feels good. Maybe thinking of writing and/or reading as an obligation has stripped all the fun out of it. Maybe you could give yourself a couple of weeks off and say "No obligatory books or writing for me for this week! I will only pick up a book if I really want to read it, and I will only write if I really want to write!" And then see what happens. Maybe if you take it out of the realm of obligation and back into the realm of fun, you'll find that it's important enough that you do it anyway. Or maybe, giving your brain a rest and letting it idle by watching TV or playing games with your family instead of trying to make yourself think writerly thoughts will leave you refreshed and eager to write when you go back to it. (This often happens to me -- sometimes the very best thing that can happen to me creatively is to have a couple of weeks when I'm literally too busy to write ANYTHING, because then I end up with the writer part of my brain desperate to put hands to keyboard and get started on all the ideas that have been building up in my brain in the meantime!)

And my sympathies on your depression. That's terrible to deal with. :(

Melanii
01-05-2015, 09:56 AM
I actually was thinking about the novel I put on hold today (in my signature "Of Blade and Quill").

But of course, I have issues that need fixed.

Also, I finished a book this week and went straight to the library for more. One making me want to continue my novel! Somehow.

MagicWriter
01-10-2015, 10:46 PM
Reading is how one gets better at writing. We all know that.

Let's say I have no job and 40 hours a week of absolute free time. I only read about 3 to 4 hours total during the whole week. I have like 3 books sitting around with bookmarks in them.

This is bad, right? I used to read a lot more as a child. Now a days I play games and try to make them, I draw, I browse the internet, I nap, etc. reading is not always my too priorty.

I'm terrible. XD

Do you like what you are reading? Maybe you need a different genre...sounds like you get bored with the story. There are several threads in here of recommendations for great stories, maybe you just need a little push.

Stephen King has several reading lists as well that consist of a breadth of genres. I can say that nothing I ever pulled from his list has been a disappointment yet, but others in here may disagree. May be a jumping off point to get you excited.

Good luck!

Melanii
01-11-2015, 01:40 AM
I'm not too interested in Stephen King -- already tried.

Right now I picked up a book where I stayed up for several nights reading it. XD

Maybe it's not Epic Fantasy I thought I liked, but just general secondary fantasy or fairy tale-like stories.

((I wish I could turn my WIP into something more fairy tale-like, actually))

Unimportant
01-11-2015, 01:49 AM
Maybe it's not Epic Fantasy I thought I liked, but just general secondary fantasy or fairy tale-like stories.

((I wish I could turn my WIP into something more fairy tale-like, actually))
Read those types of books, then!

Mercedes Lackey has a series (http://www.mercedeslackey.com/books/godmother4.html) of fairy tale-like fantasy-romances (heterosexual). Jim Hines has a great series (http://www.jimchines.com/novels/princess/) of YA what-happened-after-the-fairy-tale princess stories (featuring both straight and lesbian characters). L-J Baker has a (lesbian) fantasy-romance featuring a fairy (http://www.l-jbaker.com/Broken_Wings.html) main character.

Filigree
01-11-2015, 06:26 AM
Her language might a little tricky for you, but Patricia McKillip might be really good for you: very rich descriptions, great characters, and lush fairy-tale ambiance. Her Riddlemaster series is good, but her standalone books are easier for an intro. My favorite is her 'Cygnet' duo.

Melanii
01-11-2015, 07:28 AM
Thank you for the suggestions!

I retreated to my room today feeling meh, and I WAS going to just lay there, but the book I borrowed from the library last weekend called me...

Strange to have that feeling back again!

MagicWriter
01-12-2015, 08:34 AM
I'm not too interested in Stephen King -- already tried.

Right now I picked up a book where I stayed up for several nights reading it. XD

Maybe it's not Epic Fantasy I thought I liked, but just general secondary fantasy or fairy tale-like stories.

((I wish I could turn my WIP into something more fairy tale-like, actually))

Glad you found something that you enjoy reading. As far as SK, I don't mean necessarily his work--he has compiled a list of novels written by other people that he enjoyed, and the genres are of all kinds. :)

Forbidden Snowflake
01-12-2015, 02:18 PM
I can relate to your post.

I used to read a book per day. Sometimes two. I'd curl up with one and I'd continue until I was done. I loved reading so much. That was when I was a child. I was an only child. Not much to do at home. I wasn't very social. So, I'd have a lot of time. No computer, my parents didn't allow TV.

Today I love TV shows. I love gaming. I only discovered gaming when I was 18. And then there's the internet. And I think I lose a lot of time just browsing reddit, wikipedia, twitter and I'm not actually doing something, just browsing and sure I see interesting things, keep up to date with news etc. but I also lose time.

I want to make more time for reading again in 2015 and less time for procrastinating. Just don't know how yet.

Filigree
01-12-2015, 03:56 PM
When I commuted three-and-a-half hours a day, I got so much reading done on the bus. Embroidery, too. I have to make time to pick up paper books now, but my tablet has been amazing.

Undercover
01-12-2015, 04:47 PM
I'm a slow reader too. I only read a handful of books a year. But my New Year's resolution is to read 10-12 this year. Already got one down! haha. The rate I'm going I could maybe fit in 2 books a month.

Reading can be challenging. But once I finish a book I feel really accomplished and want to do it all over again. Maybe challenge yourself? I will read one book a month say? Just a thought.

maggi90w1
01-13-2015, 04:10 AM
Have you tried your luck with a goodreads challenge? It's really simple. You just tell goodreads how many books you want to read this years and every time you finish one you mark it as read at the goodreads homepage and the challenge ticker counts them for you (and tells you if you are still on track). It's really satisfying. I bit like collecting pokemon cards or something.
(Bonus: based on the books you read or want to read you get recommendation for other books you might like. I found a lot of awesome novels this way.)

I did it last year (https://www.goodreads.com/review/list/27240667-maggi?read_at=2014) and I read way more books than the years before. I had to lower my initial goal of 40 book to 25 books, but that's still a book every 14 days.

Another tip: I know someone who writes in English although it's a foreign language for her.
When she started out her writing was very bland and clunky. So she started taking notes while reading.
Every time she found an interesting sentence, phrase, word, etc. she wrote it down. After a couple of months she had a huge .doc file with dozens of categories (descriptions for people, descriptions for weather, words to use during fight scenes, word to describe emotions and so on).
Her writing improved so, so much. It was really incredible.
So, if you don't invest much time in reading you could at least try to make that time count.

Sage
01-13-2015, 04:45 AM
My Goodreads challenge is my greatest motivation for reading most days

Melanii
01-13-2015, 04:59 AM
I think I shall do the Goodreads challenge. When I figure out how to do it. XD

DancingMaenid
01-14-2015, 09:48 AM
Though reading is important, I think there's an over-emphasis at times on sheer quantity of reading... which can be daunting for anyone who doesn't read that quickly. There's nothing wrong with being a slower reader or needing breaks between books, as long as you are reading on a regular basis.

There's a big difference between "I don't really have to read as a writer, do I?" and "I like to read, but I don't read as much as some people." You seem to be in the latter category, which isn't a problem. I don't read as much as some people either, but I am reading.

I agree with this. It's difficult to quantify reading because different people read at different speeds. The type of books you read can make a difference, too. If you're reading very long books, or books with language that you find challenging, that may take you longer than reading shorter, easier books. I enjoy reading graphic novels sometimes, and I can usually get through a graphic novel very quickly since there usually isn't a lot of text.

Personally, I've also found that if I get out of the habit of reading a lot, my reading speed slows and I have a harder time focusing. Ironically, even though I was an English major, I had to get back in the habit of reading after I graduated because the way I read when I need to fulfill a reading assignment is a little different than when I read strictly for enjoyment. I'd also stopped reading for pleasure a lot when I was in school, so even though I was reading a lot for my classes, I was probably reading a little less overall. After I graduated, I found that reading some short-ish books that interested me a lot was a good way of getting back into the habit. You don't have to set aside huge amounts of time to read. A lot of my reading is done during my lunch break at work.