It’s as fun to read as it is informative and inspirational. On Writing helped me believe I just might have what it takes to write a book. Add several years of grueling work and voila!, there I was, holding the author’s copy of my first book. (Objects in the rearview mirror might be easier than they appear.)
The one key point King makes again and again: A writer must write a lot and read a lot. If either of those doesn’t sound good, don’t bother.
In the past six years of writing, that statement has gone from “good advice” to “iron clad law.” In the next post I’ll talk about writing a lot. Here, I’ll focus on reading a lot.
I’ve lost count, but if I were to guess, I’m pretty sure I’ve read well over fifty books on the craft of writing. I’m not going to guess how many blog posts and articles I’ve read. And that doesn’t even touch on the hundreds of other books I’ve read, fiction and non-fiction.
I read to learn what works and what doesn’t. I read to understand my topic better. I read because I love reading. I read because it is water to me.
Let’s get back to last week’s question: How badly do you want it?
If you want to be a good writer, you absolutely must make time to read. There is a lot of “if it works for you” advice. This is not one of them.
Speaking practically, this means you will not be up on all the latest TV shows and your Candy Crush score will suffer immensely. When my mom recently asked me, “How can you not watch ‘Madam Secretary’?”, my answer was the same as to everyone else when they ask me about Viking/Game of Thrones/Flash/[insert latest “must see TV” here]: I watch extraordinarily little TV.
This doesn’t mean I never watch any shows; I have my one or two shows. What it means is I watch far less than the average American.
It also means the shows I choose usually do double duty: entertainment and improving my craft. For instance, I faithfully watched “Black List” when I wrote the first draft of Double Vodka because it inspired me to ratchet up the pressure on my characters.
Because reading is so important, I’m sure a fair number of my posts will be about things I have read or am reading.
What about you, how has reading inspired you to write?
About Josh Kelley: I’ve written a spiritual living book, Radically Normal (published by Harvest House). My current project is a general market novel, Double Vodka. I’m also a writing coach that specializes in helping writers see the big picture of their strengths and weaknesses, offering an affordable one-session model.