Do you read and write?

I have to admit I’m a bit baffled by writers who say they read very little or not at all. I consider myself fortunate that my family are avid readers, albeit of different genres. I have an eclectic taste and read anything from speculative fiction to murder mysteries.

Perhaps I’m being narrow minded, but I don’t see how it’s possible to write well if you don’t read. How, for instance, does a non-reader know what readers want if they don’t read themselves? How do they ascertain if their work is cliche ridden, with bad plotting and one-dimensional characters, if they don’t compare it to published writers in their genre?

In my time as a would-be-writer I’ve heard that the story is king, nothing else matters, including spelling, punctuation and grammar. Surely if you’re going to embark on a mission to sell your work, then it should be as polished as possible, as near to perfection as you can get it?

Writing, like any other art form, requires dedication, research and hard graft. My advice? Put your soul and heart into it, never ever accept second best. If you’re not prepared to do that, then you can’t expect people to go to the effort of reading your work.

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9 Responses to “Do you read and write?”

  1. Ah…to read, to write, THAT is the question! Lol! Yes, like you I’ve always been an avid reader with very eclectic tastes. The only problem is…time. There’s never enough time! 😀

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  2. Or enough books! 😀

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  3. Ryan Holmes Says:

    Great advice, Kate. I enjoyed the tone in this. You really took a stand here, and your convictions are well presented. I couldn’t agree more, though I am admittedly not as well read as I wish. Then again, if you’ve read Tolkien, Eddings, Feist, Jordan, and Rawlings you’re probably well stocked on fantasy study material. I do wish my library was a little more diversified. Then again, time reading is time not writing. I need to learn to do both faster. 🙂

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    • Time is a problem, but I try to read before I go to sleep at night, even if it’s just a few pages. 😀

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      • Ah, you see that’s when I write!

        I often don’t get home til nearly seven so I only have a small window during week nights to write. I’m afraid my beloved books are taking a bit of a back seat at the moment…something I don’t like doing but juggling work pressures and writing is a bit tricky at the mo! 😦

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  4. Never mind, Sophie, sometimes you gotta prioritise. 🙂

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  5. I don’t devote nearly as much time to reading as I used to. Before I began writing, I read at least 3 books a week. Now I read about 3 books a month. Of course, now I’m more selective about what I read. Great post, Kate! It’s hard to believe that any writer would not feel the need for ongoing ‘research’ into the craft of writing. Reading is the best research there is. You can learn a lot from reading books in your chosen genre.

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