Off Writing

I was going to put a bunch of quotes in here by highly successful writers who will also agree that one has to read to write well, but let's face it, yall can google that on your own time. This is in response to the handful of posts about the subject I saw today.

So hear me out, when I first started I didn't want to read much other work because the other work that I knew of (or was suggested) didn't appeal to me. I didn't care for the style and formulas used in commercial genre fiction or the overwritten marketeese of commercial blog posts and articles. Plus, I barely had time to write my own work much less sit around reading a bunch of bricks I wasn't interested in.

This is the hard part, finding examples of writing you enjoy reading. I found out that I enjoy reading short stories and more literary/modernist novels. Luckily, literary fiction often overlaps with genre giving you get a mix of themes in regards to what's out there. (And helps you not come across as a complete and total snob.)

I don't read daily or weekly, same goes for my writing. Not too many people I know have the time to sit and read for hours uninterrupted every day so what you do read needs to count, so to speak. Plus, there is so much out there now that it would be nearly impossible to keep up with everything. How does the joke go? “Oh you like writing? Then name every book ever written.” – something like that.

These are the writers who I learned the most from: – Anton Chekhov – Charlotte Perkins Stetson – Yukio Mishima – Virginia Woolf – Banana Yoshimoto – Hakrui Murakami – Patricia Highsmith – Don DeLillo

Your mileage will vary on those writers. It's all about personal taste, but I do believe that if you read someone else's work that you enjoy you can learn something from it that will help you with your own writing. Pay attention to the sentence structure, how they handle dialog, everything. This goes for articles, blogs, essays, etc. The concept of “read more” will have better results if you are reading work you connect with in some way. If you're enjoying it, try to figure out why.