Reading as a writer

14 Nov

Being a writer has profoundly changed me as a reader. I enjoy reading more, because I appreciate how hard it is to write. The words glittering in front of my eyes, stringing themselves endlessly, nearly flawlessly, one after another across the page did not come free, without a price. They were born from sweat and tears and surely joy as well. Perhaps before I became a writer I took them for granted. A book was a book. I struggled to see the person behind the words. Or didn’t even bother to see them at all. Now it’s all I see. I see someone hunched over a computer fiddling with sentences, excited when one comes nicely together. I picture how I might have handled a particular sentence, paragraph or chapter. When I read nonfiction, I appreciate the reporting that went into a book. Often I’m amazed by it, such as when I read Seabiscuit. But the biggest difference in reading books as a writer is the range of them that I enjoy. I no longer read for pure story. The story is no longer the end to be sought. It is the words themselves that I enjoy the most, that I pay the most attention to. Like poetry, it’s no so much what the poem is about, although it sometimes is. The meaning lies in the way words sound, the way they dance depending on which one comes before and after it, and the afterglow when they’re all finally strung together. It is the language itself that means something, that, whether we want to admit it or not, affects us the most.

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3 Responses to “Reading as a writer”

  1. Grayquill November 14, 2010 at 9:04 pm #

    I loved this post – I struggle to write just one sentance that I am happy with. Becuause of this struggle I have assumed I would never be a good writer. I also have a few other old internal message that also get in the way. I started a blog last year and I think my writing is getting better. This post has encouraged more than anything I have ever read. Thanks for saying it is okay that it is hard.

  2. slippedink November 15, 2010 at 9:14 pm #

    Thanks for the comment! Writing is one of the hardest things a person can do. Those who say otherwise seem never to have tried it. Probably the only famous author who would say writing is easy is Stephen King. He spouts books off like every other month. But for most other people, published and unpublished, it’s a struggle on good days and a battle on most others. The only way it gets easier is to keep doing it, to keep putting one word after another. Starting a blog is a good step toward writing more, at least it’s some form of accountability, if not to other people, at least to yourself. So very glad you were encouraged by the post.

    • Grayquill November 20, 2010 at 3:36 pm #

      Thanks for reading my comment and responding!

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