Saturday, September 1, 2012
When asked, "Where do you get your ideas?" William Nicholson author of The Wind Singer trilogy said, "The material that forms my ideas comes from my life, from the people round me, from the books I read, and more than I sometimes realise, from newspapers and magazines." When asked, "What tips would you give someone starting out as a writer?" He said, "If you want to write books, you have to do two things: read books, and write. It sounds obvious, but only by writing a lot will you get any good. The better the books you read, the better your own writing will be."
It’s true, you may not be able to watch every episode of Glee or House MD and still have time for the important things in your life, but reading doesn’t have to take up large blocks of time. I take a book with me everywhere I go, reading in theater lobbies before the show, while waiting in line at the checkout, and during potty breaks. You can even read while driving, thanks to audio books. Reading is a good fit for any time that would otherwise be wasted.
In his book On Writing, Stephen King advises, "If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all others: read a lot and write a lot. There’s no way around these two things that I’m aware of, no shortcut. You cannot hope to sweep someone else away by the force of your writing until it has been done to you. If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have the time (or the tools) to write. Simple as that."
If you work full-time, it may be easier to reserve time each day in which to write. Get up early and write before you leave the house, or stop off at a cafe on your way home. Students may have a full day of the week to devote to creative writing. Stay-at-home moms and dads often rely on nap time. Make that time golden, as you would any important appointment. You might disappoint some people, but if you use tact, they'll get over it. In fact, it might give them permission to carve out space for something they really love, too.
If you need some incentive to read, maybe a monthly book club would be just the thing to get you motivated; if you can’t find one you like- start your own and invite all your friends. Whether you’re reading the instructions for putting together the latest gadget, telling your kids a bedtime story or reciting a poem on open mike night, you’re learning something about writing.