IWSG – October 2019
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.
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?