IWSG – October 2019

Hey friends,

I took a month off from the IWSG blog hop (due to circumstances beyond control) and gosh, I really missed all of you (the dozens, hundreds, thousands, millions) who read and leave thoughtful comments on my post. I also was (legitimately) sad to miss out on all the amazing things you were up to on your writing adventures. Good news- I’m here, I’m writing, I’m ready to be wowed by all your awesomeness, and maybe dazzle with a bit of my own.

Once again, If you aren’t already a member of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group, do better and sign up HERE.

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The optional monthly question vexed me some, so lets discuss-

It’s been said that the benefits of becoming a writer who does not read is that all your ideas are new and original. Everything you do is an extension of yourself, instead of a mixture of you and another author. On the other hand, how can you expect other people to want your writing, if you don’t enjoy reading? What are your thoughts?

A writer who does not read is like a chef who does not eat. I wouldn’t want to consume what either of them produces. The odds of their creations being awful are high.

I’m struggling with the premise of the first two sentences. It might be possible that a writer is somehow devoid of influence (Okay, honestly it isn’t), but if that writer is magically unaware of what is being written, what has already been written. how it is constructed, I’m not sure they can successfully enter the conversation with any authority or state anything of value.

If I tried to offer my opinions or insights on a topic I knew very little about, say quantum physics, it might be mildly entertaining, but it certainly wouldn’t advance the field or suggest any new direction for study and no scientist would feel obligated to take me seriously. 

And isn’t that what most writers want, to be taken seriously?

The presumption that originality comes from a void of influence is flawed. All of us are influenced by something or someone. Just because a writer (who does not read) claims to not be impacted by the writing of others, does not mean their creations are a pure extension of self. No one lives in a void, and whatever concepts about writing, ideas about story, structure, grammar, one works with come from interactions, observations, education, influence. If someone somehow inexplicably avoided being impacted by anyone and everything, their ideas might seem new and unique to them, but that would not inherently make them universally new or unique. 

So yeah, I’m not on board with their being any benefit to being a writer who does not read. It seems like a made up thing. And I’m right, right?

 

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About Ryan Carty

There are some who call me, Tim?

6 responses to “IWSG – October 2019”

  1. Jemi Fraser says :

    I agree! I want and enjoy that influence of other stories – of other writers. Can’t imagine crafting a tale without knowing how stories work.
    Creativity can’t come from a void – it has to spark off of something – or at least it does for me!

  2. Shannon Lawrence says :

    Really, unless they’re living in a hole, they’re probably being influenced by some type of media. They don’t read, but do they watch TV? Movies? Listen to music? All of those can be an influence, too.

  3. Liesbet @ Roaming About says :

    Ryan! It feels like such a long time since I heard from you, read you, wrote you, connected with you. Where have you been??

    I think we have all learned a lot by reading. It’s probably the one sure activity that encouraged writers to start writing. But, whatever works for a particular writer, works… I hear you about influences, though. Everything around us, all our experiences, influence us. I love your quote, and not only because it rhymes… “A writer who does not read is like a chef who does not eat.” 🙂

    • Ryan Carty says :

      Hey friend! I’m pressing forward, still trying to adapt to medications, which not only make me dizzy and tired, but drain my desires to write and blog. That and I’m apparently a bit lazy.

      And thanks for the comment on my quote. The rhyme was unintentional, but yeah, never trust a chef who doesn’t like food. Wink.

  4. Beth Camp says :

    Hope you are soon back writing once again . . . Just dropping by from the November IWSG and missed your post from last month, which took me down some wandering paths. How could we not be influenced by what we read? As much as our life experiences, our tenacity, our work to tell a story well, classes we’ve taken, those we love and those we’ve lost? We are human, unique to ourselves, and if we are writers, connected to all else. Sending wishes that November is a good month for you!

  5. jmh says :

    Hi Ryan,

    I miss your posts, even though I’d gotten woefully behind. How are you doing these days? What are you up to?

    I can’t imagine being a writer who doesn’t read. I’ve had a couple of guys who’ve never read a book tell me they want to write one, but I’ve just laughed.

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