Write Lightning is a blog from writer Deb Thompson.
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Mon, Apr 02 2007

The work of staying honest

One of the things that writers must do is read a lot, which is easier than it sounds. There's always a tension present between regular life and writing life. Everything a writer experiences through the physical senses, as well as imagination and life events, feeds that creative process. We use it all, along with our own writing voice, to inform and/or entertain readers. But we also have to find time to read what others have written, in order not to forget what we came from. Every writer I know first learned to write from reading (or at least hearing) what other writers wrote. It's how we recognize our own calling to communicate through written words. And if we lose that sense of our first love we might as well give up the whole notion of writing. But social obligations, laundry, meals, sleep, travel, filing, money management, exercise and other things would completely take away our time to read if we allowed it to happen. Other people would take over our time to read if we allowed it to happen.

We can't be alone too much or else we'll lose our sense of what it is to tell stories about people. And we can't be with people too much or else we'll never be able to collect our thoughts to tell stories at all. We don't dare neglect the reading of others' writings. Creative people can't really approach time management as a dry list of ordered tasks. We have to constantly keep in mind that what we do is really important, but it's not more important than who we are. If we forget that, we cheat ourselves, our readers and even our Creator, who first called us to be who we are.

People will tell you that the only way to be a writer is to sit down and write. And they're not wrong about that. But if that's all you ever do, you still may not really be a writer at all. And that's the part that's hard to get people to really understand.

posted at: 11:16 | category: /Writing Life | link to this entry



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Stealin' copy is as bad as horse-thievin'
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