Life Coach Magazine

My Best Writng Advice

By Writerinterrupted @writerinterrupt

Early on in my writing journey, my quest for publication, I received a bit of advice that at first I balked but now, in clear hindsight, value more than any other counsel I was offered. 

I was never a big reader.  In school I skimmed, jumped, skipped, and trotted through books, pulling out the highlights and lowlights, just enough to cover a book report or answer the questions at the end of each chapter.  In college it was no different.  There was more reading required but that only meant more literary calisthenics on my part.

In my late twenties I acquired an appetite for non-fiction, Christian living books that inspired and challenged me in my walk with Christ.  Occasionally, I would read a novel and, if the first chapter managed to grab my attention and the remainder could hold my attention, finish it.  But that was a rare occasion.

Then I discovered writing.  It was quite a revelation in itself and one that I may delve into explaining at some later date.  But for me it was quite a discovery.  Naturally, I began writing non-fiction, but eventually gravitated toward tales of fiction.

After completing my first novel I proudly handed it to my wife for her perusal and approval.  She came back with one significant word of advice and the piece of advice that changed everything: You really should read more novels.

Bingo.  Not exactly what I’d wanted to hear but definitely what I needed to hear. 

Eventually, I heeded my wife’s advice and began reading novels.  Actually, devouring would be a more accurate description.  There’s something addicting about well-written fiction.  Once hooked, it’s a habit that’s not easily cast off.

I read novel after novel, finishing one and picking up another.  And that’s where the real learning took place.  I discovered what good, and bad, writing was all about.  I acquired a taste for certain genres and an appreciation for style and voice.  I exposed the reader within me and then realized that the reader was a student, and the student had much to learn. 

Books became my classroom and authors like Ted Dekker, Athol Dickson, Dale Cramer, Kathryn Mackel, and Dean Koontz my teachers.  I read critically, deciding what I liked and disliked, what I admired and wanted to emulate. 

Now, I read, not only for the education, but for the inspiration, to stay sharp, polished, and focused.  Reading keeps me in the “writing rhythm.”

At writer’s conferences, I’m always amazed at how many aspiring authors say “I just don’t have time to read.”  Stephen King once said, If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have time to write.  How true.  The time is there, you just have to find it and manage it

The first and best advice I give any aspiring writer is the most valuable advice I ever received: Read!  Read authors of different genres; read a variety of styles and voices.  Read, not just for the entertainment of a good story, but to learn.  Don’t just nibble on a book, chew it quickly, and swallow.  Savor it, taking your time, discovering what makes it a gripping or not-so-gripping read.  Leech all the flavor you can from the craft of your favorite authors, invite them into your mind and allow them to share their wisdom and expertise with you.

But the key is to read.  Then watch how your own writing develops and grows.

Best Writng Advice
Best Writng Advice
Best Writng Advice
Best Writng Advice
Best Writng Advice
Best Writng Advice
Best Writng Advice

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