Thursday, July 15, 2010

Writing and Reading

I’ve heard many people say over and over that to be a good writer, you have to be well read. Is it true?

For me, I love to read. What writer doesn’t? But I barely have enough time to write my own book, let alone read everyone else's. So when I started writing I banned myself from reading.

Why? It distracted me from my own book in a lot of ways. Their books were so good that I couldn’t put them down to read. I got discouraged because I felt that my book will never be as good. I even found myself accidentally writing characters/things/situations into my book because I’d read them elsewhere. *not good*

So I stayed away from other books.

Then, once I finished the first draft of my manuscript, and needed a break, I finally hit the bookshelves and read like mad. And you know what?

I think I was wrong.

I think it was a mistake to avoid books all together. I learned a lot by reading published works. I found new techniques, and interesting ways to craft my story. It’s been good for me to get a better understanding of my genre, and see what the readers are reading.

Sure . . . I still got distracted from my manuscript. I just need to sort out how to stay focused on my book, while reading others.

What do you guys think? Do you read a lot while writing your manuscript? How do you stay focused?