As many writers are, I’m also a voracious reader. I visit at least 3 libraries regularly (being properly thankful for networked library systems!) and allow myself occasional treats at bookstores as finances allow. Just the other day, I picked up a bookmark from one of those stores, Midway Used and Rare Books in St Paul, MN (a splendid place to lose a few hours!), and actually read it.
It lists John Cotton Dana’s “10 rules on reading.” I read them, smiled … and realized that, with only a little tweaking, they work equally well for writers:
- Write some more.
- Write anything.
- Write about everything.
- Write, read, and talk about things.
- Write very carefully about important things.
- Write on the run, whenever you have a moment and a scrap of paper, iPad, Blackberry or whatever.
- Don’t just think about writing:
- Just write!
Of course, you’ll note that “read” still crept in at number 6. I wasn’t kidding about how much I read. If I don’t get a couple of hours of some sort of reading in a given day, I get cranky. Some must be books. I also put in lots of online reading time these days. But it’s all essential for me: reading both refreshes me and gives me incentive to write.
Rules number 1 through 5 get covered by my twice-a-month writers group. Writing to random prompts and reading aloud to a small circle of friends helps me try out new ways of writing with minimal risk. And we most definitely cover anything and everything!
So don’t just sit around thinking about writing … pick up pen or keyboard and just write.