Writers Don’t Cry has it bang on the money (NaNo Update, sort of.)
Three weeks in, and Susan J Morris of the excellent Writer’s Don’t Cry – seriously, I’ve been going through all of her back catalogue, and she really knows what she’s talking about – has said the most important thing about keeping writing that I think I’ve ever heard.
Keep reading books while you write.
More importantly, she says “read these books.”
Now, I’m barely going to talk about her list of books, other than the fact that she’s put “The Name Of The Wind” on there makes me want to read all the others. Instead I want to say that this is the advice that I was worried that no-one would ever give, because when I started NaNo I thought that the opposite would be true.
For an anecdote, let me say this – about a week ago, I had a bout with writer’s block. OK, it was incredibly short lived, and was killed easily. But for the whole few weeks of NaNoWriMo before that, I had been neck deep in Patrick Rothfuss’ “The Wise Man’s Fear”. And suddenly it ended. In a fit of “no goddamned genre savvy at all”, I decided to take a few days before starting the next book on my list – James S. A. Corey’s “Leviathan Wakes”, my first bit of sci-fi in ages.
BIG. FUCKING. MISTAKE. For the next day or so, suddenly ideas were falling from between my fingers, and suddenly this whole writing lark seemed impossible.
With nothing to fill my time with, and writing hurting my brain, I was forced back into reading (not that I took much forcing). And the writing thing went away.
OK, it wasn’t a one hundred percent difference – I still had to work at it, like always – but there was a difference, and it was marked.
So if you’re writing, and if my experience is anything like transferrable, then don’t do what some people have been doing and stop reading. Attack your book pile with more fervour than ever.
I realised halfway through this article that it had become a pep talk for WriMos, and for any other writers out there. My experience is limited, but if it helps, it helps. And you should be reading anyway.
I’ve had so much ponies the last few days.
Posted on November 26, 2012, in Normal Type and tagged Books, James S. A. Corey, Leviathan Wakes, NaNoWriMo, Patrick Rothfuss, Pep Talks, Susan J Morris, The Name of The Wind, The Wise Man's Fear, Writers Don't Cry. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.