Reading is Fundamental (to writing).

person holding opened book

The more I write, the more it changes how I read. I’m halfway through a book by one of my favorite authors. I’ve been reading the series this book is part of since the 90’s. The first sixty pages or so were difficult for me to get through. Despite being familiar with the setting, characters, and the situations involved.

What changed between the last book in the series I read two years ago and now? My grasp of writing. I’m no master of the craft yet. But I recognize mistakes I’ve made in stories I shared with critique partners in the past. While I try not to write those same kinds of scenes or long passages of tedious details, I recognize them when I read them.

Did those passages pull me out of the story? Yes, for a few seconds as I realized what I’d read. They didn’t keep me from reading on, because I knew there was more coming in the book that I’ve come to love. I wasn’t disappointed. But it has given me a different appreciation of how far my writing has come.

So if you follow any of my advice at all, write. I don’t worry about how it sounds when I first throw it on the page. My muse doesn’t always put the most exquisite prose in my hands to start with. Sometimes it takes finesse to massage the words into great shape. That’s also part of the process. Lean into it, and believe it can be great. Eventually, it will be.

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