Stop Reading!

February 17, 2008 at 5:16 pm 13 comments

Well, don’t stop reading, this, just reading in general if you happen to be writing a book.  This advice from an article in The Writer.  Before I go any farther, know that I don’t get paid to promote anything.  There will be no kickbacks for Kat mentioning any book, magazine, movie, shampoo or lint remover in my blog.  Anyway…

The author alleges that reading a published piece while trying to write one interferes with a writer’s voice, can lead to writer’s block and at the very least, inhibit their style.  I chair a large writers group and I can’t tell you how many times I’ve admonished them that “writer’s read”.  I still believe the best writers are readers, but this article made a lot of sense.  How many times have you been half way through a best seller and thought “man, I wish I would have written that”?  Worse, how many times have you been curled up with a book and thought “what’s the use,  I can never top this”?  Have you ever blown out a weekend reading someone else’s book when you should have been writing yours? 

Personally, I’ve done all of these things at one time or another, but I also find spending a few hours with a really good book inspiring and motivational.  Perhaps the difference for me is that I don’t read in the genre I write for.  The article went on to allege that if a writer’s supply of reading material disappears, they will create the stories they seek themselves. 

Interesting theory, what do you think?


Entry filed under: Uncategorized, writing. Tags: .

Jaded Beyond Redemption – Not Things That Make Ya Go – Ugh

13 Comments Add your own

  • 1. damyantig  |  February 17, 2008 at 5:35 pm

    Reading something in another genre seems like a good idea.

    I do stop reading fiction books on the same subject that I am doing creative writing in.

  • 2. hammer  |  February 17, 2008 at 6:34 pm

    Reading inspires me. Different authors creep in and talk to my imagination from time to time. But that’s just me.

  • 3. QuillDancer  |  February 17, 2008 at 7:09 pm

    I think I quit even trying to write after I thought, “I can never compete with this!” one too many times.

  • 4. rel  |  February 17, 2008 at 7:28 pm

    Let me give this some thoght…………………………

    There. No, for me reading is the stimulus to write. I think things like: yes, I can do that, or so that’s how that’s done. My perspective on pov has changed with broadened readings of heretofore unread genres.

    In the end though I believe what S. King and E. Gilbert have said: to be a writer, write!

  • 5. Icey  |  February 17, 2008 at 7:36 pm

    I think reading while writing also helps you improve your own plots. Like maybe you are stuck on your plot and you read a book – or a see a movie for the matter – and suddenly the picture widens because you are flashed with more ideas, more ways to resolve conflicts,…

    However , I do have to agree with you: a writer must be a good reader.

  • 6. katcampbell  |  February 17, 2008 at 7:59 pm

    damyantig: Thanks for stopping by! I write for children, so reading out of my genre is necessary.

    Hammer and Rel – I agree, I find I’m inspired by great writing and I can often see in someone else’s work how to fix something I’m doing incorrectly.

    Quilly – You are an excellent example of why this article might actually be true. Stop reading…write your book!

    Icey – Thanks for stopping by! You make a good point.

  • 7. Delmonti (Dave)  |  February 17, 2008 at 10:33 pm

    I’m not a great reader of books…. I maybe get through 2 or 3 a year! (I know, I know….).

    Currently tryiong to get into Cloud Atlas…. although, it’s very slow, I may just lob it onto the “too slow” pile yet.

  • 8. Absolute Vanilla (an  |  February 17, 2008 at 11:11 pm

    I find reading while I’m working on my own manuscripts is very distracting – so what I tend to do is not read while I’m writing and read lots when I’m not – you know those times inbetween editing a manuscript or starting another. I find reading deeply influential, and am a firm believer in read, read, read – but at the appropriate times so that your own voice isn’t hijacked.
    And I mostly read in my genre – but not always.

  • 9. katcampbell  |  February 18, 2008 at 2:14 am

    Dave – You’re just saving up all your reading time for my book. My rule of thumb for books is: if you haven’t grabbed me by page 100 – straight to the yard sale.

    AV – Distracting is exactly the right term. Time spent reading is time away from writing in my case.

  • 10. frothingatlemouse  |  February 18, 2008 at 4:15 am

    At some point I hope I can actually finish something, if only to produce something that even mildly resembles what entertains me. I love good stories, humor, creepiness, whatever. I would love to contribute to the stream, just knowing how much I like to read.
    Sorta like having kids. I want them to enjoy the ups and downs and weirdness that is life, which is why I had them. Did that make sense? Of course, it’s deeper than that, but, you know. Now I’m blathering.

  • 11. Hayden  |  February 18, 2008 at 9:00 pm

    I agree. The need to write is fed, (although poorly) by reading in the same genre. I adore Tolstoy, Gabriell Garcia Marquez, Salmon Rushdie, Milan Kundera. I know I will never write anything to compare. Still, the pleasure of reading is less OVER ALL, than the pleasure of writing. When I read, though, it lessons the hunger to write, and overall, reading is so much easier.

    I stopped reading novels – with exceptions for a few I consider masters – years ago. Instead I read books on science, on critters. Somehow understanding the amazing secrets of “how things work” feeds my need to write – perhaps because my writing tends to be about “how things work” from the perspective of human emotions.

    Perhaps those who have never read voraciously are best served by reading – it was so much a part of my daily routine from the time I was tiny that I do recognize the cadence of language, the power of spare line, the word-webs that suck you in, unawares, to a central point of inevitable action –

  • 12. colleen  |  February 20, 2008 at 9:31 am

    Reading inspires me to write. Sometimes it feels like too much second hand information when I’m avoiding first hand accounts.

  • 13. Jamaican Dawta  |  February 20, 2008 at 6:48 pm

    “I still believe the best writers are readers”.
    Oh yes, I agree, which means I need to read more. 🙂

    “How many times have you been half way through a best seller and thought “man, I wish I would have written that”? Worse, how many times have you been curled up with a book and thought “what’s the use, I can never top this”? Have you ever blown out a weekend reading someone else’s book when you should have been writing yours?”

    You’ve just described me to a T. But I think, finding one’s own unique voice should be every writer’s focus. After all, it would be so boring if everyone’s writings sounded the same. I like to read other writers’ works so that I can learn the various writing styles and increase my vocabulary.

    Thanks for sharing the points in that article.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Trackback this post  |  Subscribe to the comments via RSS Feed

The free-lance writer is the person who is paid per piece or per word or perhaps. (Robert Benchley)

Welcome to My Neighborhood!

Shortly after I learned to use a spoon, I learned to use a pencil. Crippled by shyness as a child, I found that the things I couldn't say out loud, I could say with a pen, and then a typewriter. The shyness was overcome with education and age...but the need to write has never left me.

Books That Have Toured Here

Murder For Hire - The Peruvian Pigeon Dana Fredsti mfhcoverjpg.jpg

You’re Not The Only One

Compiled and edited by Peach, this book includes a story by Kat Campbell, as well as 105 other great writers from across the internet. Proceeds from the sale of this book benefit the War Child Fund. Great reading for you, help for some deserving kids. Order by clicking on LuLu in my links.

Recent Posts

Woo Hoo Awards!

rockingirlblogger.jpg biggestheartaward.jpg
thinkingbloggeraward.jpeg thoughtfulbloggeraward.jpg
February 2008
« Jan   Mar »


%d bloggers like this: