Sunday, December 03, 2006

Growing as a Writer

There's a little voice in my head that never stops saying, "Must be better!" Is this a me-crazy thing, or is this something that everyone hears?

Francine Prose wrote the best book on writing that I've read, Reading Like A Writer, tying with my other favorite Stephen King's On Writing. When I started Reading Like A Writer, I actually teared up and all but started to cry. It reminded me how much I love the written word, and writing. It gave me permission to read slow, over and over, and unlock all the mysteries the book has.

I've heard so many people say that you need to read, read, read to be a writer. Lately, I've felt such a pressure to read an enormous quantity. "Know your genre," they say, and I walk through Borders, wondering how the hell I'm going to read all these books! And how much is enough?

Truth is, you can never read everything, even if you read two books a day.

So stopping to enjoy a chapter, and reading it several times, is new to me. And reading Francine Prose's "permission" to do so, just overwhelmed me and made me start to cry. For happiness, or relief, or something.

Reading Like A Writer is definitely a book to treasure as a tool to learn how to write better.

So I'm taking my time with Neil Gaiman's Anansi Boys, because I have a lot to learn from him, I sense. I've also decided to start approaching my reading by deciding what I need to learn most, as a writer.

Maybe you know how much I love Emily Dickinson. I picked up a Rumi book, and realized (partly because there was a Dickinson poem in the foreward) how very similar the two poets are. Short, vivid, and poignantly insightful. They say a lot with so little.

Miss Snark suggests reading poetry before writing, every day. Interesting, and I like that suggestion. A very wise suggestion. I like to exercise that word muscle; it takes practice to find the right word when you need it! At least for me.

I've decided to start writing a little poetry, everyday. Nothing I'll share, but I think it will help me become a better writer.

Anyone do anything else, to become a better writer?

6 bonus scribbles:

LaDonna 12/03/2006 02:43:00 PM  

I suspect we have much in common! Thanks for the book suggestions too. Words humble me. I love finding the perfect word, the right twist of phrase. Can't wait to check these writer books out. I'll keep ya posted!

Edie 12/04/2006 11:03:00 AM  

I looked at Amazon. 5 stars all the way. I just bought 2 writing books, but this goes on my wish list. :)

StarvingWriteNow 12/04/2006 11:22:00 AM  

Yes, I think that all the time. Sometimes to the point where I have to tell myself to stop thinking!!! I agree with you on Stephen King's book; I really got a lot out of it.

spyscribbler 12/05/2006 05:33:00 PM  

Yes, both books are fabulous. I'm learning so much from Reading Like A Writer, though! It's been a great experience so far!

writtenwyrdd 12/05/2006 09:00:00 PM  

Writing poetry is what made me a fiction writer, actually. It teaches you to reach for meaning behind the words, or perhaps it is to trust the meaning IS behind the words, lol!

spyscribbler 12/08/2006 01:12:00 AM  

You know, studying and playing art song (poetry set to music) made me fell in love with words. So did studying the German language.

Funny, how studying a different language helps us understand our own just a little better.