Read! Read! Read! Sounds familiar? I went through this at the early stage of my writing journey. It is good advice, especially for an emerging author like me.
I dread long readings. It makes me tired, sleepy and hungry. If there were ways, I would skip the “reading part” and go on writing. I have a long list of excuses not to read, but at the end of the day, I still need to open some books to read and learn. It is not mandatory or a requirement to become an author, but it would surely help us to be a good one.
And so, I read. I burnt both sides of the candle, as the saying goes, reading from early morning till the sun comes up. The books on my bed almost became my pillows, and trust me; it does hurt, you know. I flipped through the pages of some of the books written by those great and famous authors and read one or two pages to find out what made them stand out from the others. By morning, I still couldn’t make up my mind how to begin my story. I have a good story to tell. It was all there in my head but putting words to paper was a real challenge. All I want was to write and express my thoughts and put my imaginations into play, and then see what happens next.
Read! Read! Read! It was not so entertaining to hear this at the back of your head. It is good advice, but I couldn’t figure out where it fits into my writing dilemma. So, I reread more books. Occasionally, I made some excuses not to read. I borrowed at the library all kinds of books and read them all. As I said before, those books are not as good as my old pillows.
One thing though, writing became easy afterwards. I was moving forward fast and non-stop. Five hundred words glided smoothly, then came a thousand words. My first page was starting to fill up, even though I cheated a little bit by making my margins wider and double the line spacing. Then finally, I wrote my first two thousand words. Hurray! I thought it was a great accomplishment. The only downside to this was, I noticed that I write like them, and I began to sound like them too.
I hit a roadblock. I want to achieve all those required of me to write and produce an outstanding story. I doubted myself again. So, I read. I immersed myself reading and learning a little bit here, a few more there, and everything in between. I fleshed out every word and sentences I came across in the book. I dissected the whole story, chapter by chapter as if I was looking for something. It was a challenging mental activity. What I found was “nothing”, only a great story all written with pure intention straight from the heart of the author. They were well researched, and everything stamped mark with the author’s writing style, tone and voice.
I figured out that those books I read should only serve me as guidelines and not a template. All the rest should come from me-my style of writing, tone and voice. I wouldn’t say that I have already perfected my craft, but the journey of learning new things is so rewarding. Of course, writing and reading more often is beneficial to our career. It sharpens our skills and imaginations. I am still learning, and I know that there are so much more I need to learn before I become a better author. I always peek through those books to guide me.
I believe that commitment and persistence would take me one day to where I want to be. When I started my journey, I have so many excuses not to do things. I doubted myself and my abilities that I can do anything. But, those books that I read, and those authors that I barely knew, gave me reasons to stay focus and “just keep on writing”.
What about you guys. What excuses have you made?