Do reading and writing always go together? Many times I’ve read the advice that if you want to be a good writer you need to read a lot. But does it work the other way; can you get more pleasure from reading by writing lots?
I love reading; in fact my love of reading is greater than my love of writing. I like to read a variety of topics and formats. For instance I’m currently subscribed to 188 RSS feeds covering topics including blogging, writing, finance and uncluttering. Bookwise I’m currently reading a thriller Angel Flight, a book on career development, one on project management and one on using Premiere Elements, but my wishlist is much longer (approaching 500 books) and covers topics such as property development, crocheting and urban fantasy. I also enjoy reading about books and writing; in fact I have developed a large collection of books about writing, most still on my to be read list. If I worked through the exercises on this blog I probably wouldn’t run out of posts for several years! I also read in a variety of formats such as traditional hard copy, on the computer as well as my new smart phone. Plus I’m hoping I may get a Kindle (or other ebook reader) for my birthday.
A lot of my desire to write fiction originates from reading. For instance outside of school, my first attempt at writing originated from books. When I wasn’t happy with the ending of book I would rewrite them (usually in some long convoluted adventure). I specifically remember doing this for the Magician’s nephew. More recently, after finishing a really good book I often can’t settle to a new book, so I turn my mind to developing my own stories (or I admit it a bit of fan fiction).
I enjoy taking my experiences of writing back into my fiction books as it makes my reading experience deeper. For instance, if I’ve been describing a scene and it feels long winded and clunky I start to notice the techniques authors use to get their descriptions slick. Or when I’m reading a book for the second (third, fourth …) time I start to analyse what makes the book so good.
If you had to pick one, would you describe yourself as a reader or a writer? Do you transfer your experiences between the two?