Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Reading and Writing: Some Thoughts

Years ago there was a very popular daily cartoon in my local newspaper called “Love Is…”. Since then, many people have used the (insert noun here) is… format. It works so well on many levels. In my attempt to discuss why a reader might become a writer, I’ve used it below.

All writers are readers (or should be). We started out as readers. Reading brought us something no other activity could, because:

Reading is… a ticket to every place that exists or has ever existed, either in the imagination or in reality. It’s a journey without limits.

Reading is…a treasure map. X marks hours of entertainment.
Reading promises emotional fulfillment. It replenishes us when the world disappoints (or when we disappoint ourselves).

But while all (okay, most) writers are readers, not all readers are writers (and yes, that’s a bit of a duh statement. Sorry about that). So why do people make that leap from reading to writing? It isn’t an easy path; it’s rarely a lucrative path. Writing leaves a person open to criticism. It demands much. And…what is writing all about, anyway?

Writing is…sitting down and creating a living world or worlds from nothing but thin air, will power, imagination, persistence and luck.

Writing is…the chance to turn your imagination and your soul inside out, exploring paths you might never travel if your characters didn’t lead, commanding you to follow.

Writing is…opening yourself to the possibility of miracles through the simple act of touching keys on a keyboard or sliding a pen across paper.

Writing is all those things and more, and yet…it can also be frustrating, soul-sucking, difficult, lonely, demanding and often seemingly impossible while also being energizing and life-giving.

The question you have to ask yourself (over and over again, every day, every time you sit down and face that blank page) is, Is it worth it? Is the time, energy, hair-pulling, isolation, low chance of monetary reward and stress worth the outcome?

To some the answer will be “never,” to some it might be “maybe.” To others it will be “absolutely.” If you fall into the “absolutely” or even (possibly) the “maybe” camp, if you know what you’re up against and you’re still determined to go for it, then…welcome to my world. Despite the barriers and the battles, it’s an amazing place.

Happy world-building! Happy writing! (And as always, Happy Reading)!

(And by the way, I’d love to hear more “Reading is” or “Writing is” comments. Feel free to join in, and if you’re a writer, feel free to post a link to your website).

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