I was one of those kids who read until 2 am under the covers with a flashlight. I read on buses, trains and while walking between classes at university. A blissful weekend for me involved a block of chocolate, a packet of salt and vinegar chips, a pile of books and a “do not disturb” sign on my door. But my ego killed my passion for reading and its been years since I can honestly say I have read a book.
Therein lies the rub, for you see, to become a better writer, a generally accepted piece of advice is to read widely.
If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have the time (or the tools) to write. Simple as that.
– Stephen King
HP Lovecraft says:
A page of Addison or of Irving will teach more of style than a whole manual of rules, whilst a story of Poe’s will impress upon the mind a more vivid notion of powerful and correct description and narration than will ten dry chapters of a bulky textbook.
I rest my case.
Reading a wide variety of genres opens styles and sentence structures up in the writers mind. Not only does it serve to inspire the creative spark, but it also develops the writer’s palate for all the writing tricks authors have utilized over the ages.
But you see, my ego won’t entertain the thought of me reading. Far from thinking it will stop my individual style or that I will be too influenced by a certain style or writer, my once loved books are simply pages of blurred muddles. Apparently, I need glasses to read. Ridiculous! Old people have glasses. All I need is longer arms or a selfie stick that will hold my books and extend it to a spot I can see the words. However, the call of new authors works and my increased need to begin writing again, will force me to lock my ego away, don some reading glasses and accept that they will perch on my nose at a ridiculous angle. Sigh.
Ego is such an ugly word.