The most profound lesson that any writer should be learning is to read. But not only to read, good writer needs to read from a writer’s eyes. And it’s hard.
I was not born to read. In fact, I used to not like reading. I read when I was young, partly because my sister likes to read, and as a jealous little sister who wanted to have the same skills as her, I began to read, too.
But the books that I read are not many. If I have to redo my youthful years, I would force myself to read more, because at that time I have all the time in the world. Just like what Ben Carson‘s Mom did.
During high school, I began to know Mitch Albom. I love all his books. I began to read Harry Potter, and proudly I can say that I’m a fan, I read most of the books twice or three times. Then, I fell in love with the Inheritance Cycle. Christian Paolini just blew my mind. The completely different world that he has created, was just, fascinating.
But I never read widely.
Every writer has already been told of this: you want to be a good writer? Read widely. Read nonfictions, read fictions. Read memoirs, and science fictions. Read those crime novels, savour Agatha Christie. At least read one of Shakespheare’s, Jane Austin’s, and Hemmingway’s. Well, I haven’t read even one of theirs.
That said, I love nonfiction. I love memoirs and autobiographies. But I hate fiction. Science fiction is a different story, because it is imaginative and creative. But fiction? It’s just an imagination of something that may or may not be happening. While science fiction will not happen, fiction stories may. Or may not. And I just I couldn’t live not knowing that. In sum, when I go to a bookshop, I ignored fiction section completely.
And I hate complicated English. Well, it just doesn’t make sense. I’m not a fan of some fancy words. I hate it when people describe a scenery in three long pages, because I know, I will skip it altogether and jump to the section when actions happen, because that’s the most interesting part. Partly, maybe, because my level of English is not as good, and I have no idea of the writer’s use of simile, metaphor, or any other linguistic techniques; they are just too damn complicated for me.
So when professional writers all around the world tell me that as a writer, I need to read like one, oh, if only doing it is as easy as writing it down…
In a sense, to become a better writer, I need to be able to become a better reader. Not only losing myself into a good book, I need to take a step back and analyse the reason why I’m being absorbed towards that book. That way, I can adapt some techniques that will work for my writing, and improve even more.
What about you? Do you read like a writer, or do you read like a reader?