On Reading AND Writing

One of my favorite books, one that I listen to each year (“listen to” because it is read by the author) is:Onwriting

I’ve read that many writing courses use this book.. I firmly believe that King’s books will be taught just as we now teach Poe, Hawthorne, Faulkner, Hemingway.

One of my favorite quotes from this book:


That quote should be in 48 point font, printed out for every writer or would-be writer, and posted on their wall above their computer.

And he practices what he preaches:

OT_296010_BORC_rays_12 JAMES BORCHUCK  |   Times (10/14/2008 Boston, MA) Stephen King reads a book while sitting in the grandstands during the sixth inning.
(10/14/2008 Boston, MA) Stephen King reads a book while sitting in the grandstands during the sixth inning.

(I would love to see a picture like this with one of my books)

Writers have to read books…and not just the books in “their” genre. One of the things that knots my panties is hearing a writer say, “Oh, I never read____________ (fill in the blank).” It could be Romance, Horror, Mystery, Thrillers, Cozy Mystery…name a fiction genre. Or it could be a fiction writer saying that she/he never reads nonfiction.

I write every day. Every. Day. It may not be 1000 or 2000 words  but I write. And I read. Every. Day.

I read all genres…absolutely all genres. In my retirement I manage two to four books a week. By 8 or 9 at night you can find me in bed, sitting up against my study-buddy, a book on my lap. I go to the library every other week. I have bookcases full of books I’ve read and want to save, books I use for research, books on favorite subjects, books I need to read.

And, yes, I have a Kindle: Kindle horder

I’m retired but I still need to manage my time. I try to write during the morning and then give myself time to read. If I have to go some place where I know I’ll be waiting, I take a book or my Kindle (see above pictures). I listen to audiobooks when I’m in the car. Right now I’m listening to Poe’s short stories…not that I haven’t read most of them, but hearing them read is a new wonder.

When I was working, I would get up early to write and I would read when I got home from work.

In order to do this, I had to give up something. I watch very little television. Now I will confess to being a fan of General Hospital (my guilty pleasure…BTW: I will miss Tony Geary!) and sometimes I watch House Hunters, International, both of which I DVR.  I spend my evenings reading.

Kingquote-reading-takes-time-and-the-glass-teat-takes-too-much-of-it-stephen-king-44-7-0786     Another favorite King quote.

So now you’re probably tired of me evoking Stephen King and maybe even tired of me dissing television. Actually watching a good TV show every so often is not a bad idea for writers. I’ve watched “soap operas” for 45 years, since my daughter was born and I had to work the 3-11 shift at the hospital and there were no VCRs or DVRs. Soaps taught be dialogue and pacing before I even knew I needed dialogue and pacing to be a writer.

As for Stephen: we should all be so prolific and so popular.

If you don’t want to read horror, or dark fantasy, or even mystery (Mr. Mercedes and Finders Keepers ), at least read (or listen to, which is a treat) On Writing.

And take what he says about writing…and reading…to heart.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s