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The Need to Read

March 6, 2007

I’ve never met a writer worth a second glance who wasn’t an avid reader. I’m not sure if any two endeavors go hand in hand quite the way reading and writing do.

That said, I’m in the midst of one of the longest creative reading droughts of my adult life. It’s not that I haven’t wanted to read. It just seems that over the last several months my traditional reading times have dried up.

The surprising part is how much this lack of input has affected my output.

I have no evidence or research to back this up, but to me it seems that the mental process of taking others’ words and creating a moving picture in you head, is uniquely wonderful practice for taking the moving pictures in your head and encoding them into the written word.

So now I am making a concerted effort to fill up the creative tank with some of the books from the two foot stack of books in my nightstand.

  1. March 6, 2007 8:03 am

    When I can’t read as much as I would like, I find that I am not as energized or productive in my writing either.

    Creativity sparks creativity.

  2. March 6, 2007 11:18 am

    Does reading blogs count?


    Reading is a great motivator for ideas and inspiration. I have recently been taking classes for grad school and my reading for pleasure has nearly completely ceased…however, I have found that the deadlines of research papers has inspired the desire to write. Interesting, when we have the least time, we get the most done.

    Great topic!


  3. March 7, 2007 3:01 am

    Yeah, my writing plummets when I don’t read. I’ve been consuming a lot lately and I can feel all these ideas swelling up.

  4. March 7, 2007 5:21 am

    I couldn’t agree more. In all of my writing seminars that I teach, it’s one of my strongest mantras: you have to be able to visualize your story, and your reader must be able to form his or her own mind movie while reading your words.
    I often write my stories as if they are being performed or directed by Spielberg…
    Enjoy the day…and good luck with your reading!

  5. March 8, 2007 1:27 pm

    I have a stack of at least four books next to the night stand, two books in my office, five books in the kitchen and several literary magazines scattered throughout the house that inspire me.

  6. March 10, 2007 1:26 pm

    If I’m not careful, I spend too much time reading blogs. The joy of holding a book and getting lost in an author’s words is still the best way to keep my brain cells hot.

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