Saturday, December 10, 2011

If You Want To Be A Writer ...

... there are two things that you have to do - so says Stephen King. Read a lot and write a lot. Allow me to share with you my experiences the former.

Let's wind the clock right back. As in, right back. Directly after I was born, my fantastic mother (love you, Mum) was now running around after three boys under five years of age, trying to look after us, feed us, and turn us into socially acceptable human beings. And let's be honest: my brothers needed a lot of work. So, in the midst of all this chaos, she just completely forgot to read me any books in the first year of my life.

Fast-forward to when I was five. At this point time, I was just learning how to read, write, hold a pencil. Mum always tells a story about how she was tucking me into bed one night when I decided that this would be the fantastic time to tell her that I loved words and sentences. So I did. And she thought it was pretty much the best thing ever. No doubt this story will come up at my 21st, 50th, and then again at my funeral.

Anyway, after expressing such an interest in the written word, one would think I would actually begin to read. And I suppose, to some extent, I did. Said extent, however, was basically limited to reading Peter Pan picture books.

Several years passed, in which time I didn't really read at all. To be honest, I couldn't really be bothered with other peoples' stories - I wanted to tell my own. Of course, there were a few books, but not nearly as many as one would expect from an aspiring writer. I remember picking up The Lord of the Rings. And putting it down again. Repeat, times twenty. (For the record, I finally did actually read The Lord of the Rings - I finished it something like seven years after I started it.)

But the realisation of, and these were the exact words, "I should read some books," came when I turned fourteen. I was given a bookstore voucher and, when I went to spend it, I discovered that I hardly recognised any of the titles on the shelves. And so I finally got into reading. A bit.

The next realisation, "I should read lots of books," came about a year later, on my fifteenth birthday, when I tried to compare the number of books I had read in the year since my first realisation to the number of books I had left to read before I had read every single book in the world. Yeah. You can imagine what that comparison looked like.

Now, six months later, I think I'm doing quite well. I've surpassed my goal to read thirty books this year. In the last month, I've made an addition of fifteen books to my bookshelf, including these:

*Poets of the English Language Collection*

That's a five volume poetry collection of the best work from the best poets since the 1300's. I know, I'm a book nerd.

Anyway, tell me, what are your experiences with reading? Have you always been an avid reader? Not yet? Or were you like me?


  1. I've been getting better. Like you, I preferred to write my own stories than read other peoples…but apart from reading to be better at writing, reading downright fun anyway!!!

  2. Somewhere along the way my parents acquired a rather signifiacant collection of Hardy Boy mysteries. I think I was ten when I discovered them. Those books sparked my love of reading. I can't remember if I read much before that, but I remember devouring those books and when they were gone, seeking out other mystery/adventure books just like them.

  3. I'm seriously drooling over those books of poetry. (I know what I'm asking for for Christmas!) It's great that you're so into reading. Remember when being a little reading kid meant reciting your favorite book from memorization with a bit of ad lib? :)

  4. Always always loved reading. Unlike you I was the only child, so my parents had time to read to me at night, during the day, during playtime. One of my first memories is reading the Hobbit with my dad - a feat that I haven't accomplished since my childhood.
    I didn't really have a choice in the matter. Both my parents loved reading and always read for an hour at night. So I read with them. And the obsession continues.

  5. I've actually gotten worse. I use to read 1-2 books a week ever since I was in second grade. But just last year, like, exactly last year I started slowing down. I was finishing a book a month.

    As of today I have read 24 books this year. I plan to read 6 more this month to reach my Goodreads goal.

    But when Christmas Break comes, and school gets out of the way, I've made a goal to read 2 books a week again. Get back on schedule.

    School hasn't helped with this either.

    I gotta blog, so, I think I'm going to.


  6. I'm a slow reader, but I'm always in the middle of a good book. I find that the more I read, the more I want to write. And speaking of writing...
    You are officially invited: Write1Sub1 Reloaded

  7. jpcabit: So it is! That's something I've discovered over the last year. I'm glad to learn that I'm not the only one who started off preferring to write than read :D

    Steven: Ooooh, yes. The Hardy Boys. I remember reading a few of those books. The book that really had that kind of effect on me was Eragon by Christopher Paolini :)

    Madeline: Yea, I pretty much drooled over them when I found them on the internet. And you know what's even better? They only cost me about ten US dollars.

    Heather: Fantastic! :) Well you're well ahead of me then.

    Jackson: Two books a week! Now that is impressive. Good luck on your endeavors; I'm sure you can get back into the habit :)

    Milo: Yes, I'm like you - a slow reader. And when I read, and find myself in other peoples' stories, it makes me want to write my own. As for the invite, the link doesn't appear to be working ... ?

  8. AWESOME blog post...again. I've been viewing your posts for a while now and I just can't get enough of your common logic and humour! You have the gift, bro! By now, you would have seen that I am a follower of your blog, and will be for a VERY long time. By the way, I WANT THOSE BOOKS OF POETRY! Nice post!

    Oh, yeah, check my blog out, when you can ---------->


  9. Thanks Ty :) I'm a new follower of your blog

  10. Aloha Nick,

    I appreciate you stopping by my blog - and mahalo for the follow!

    I'm doing likewise with your site, and am looking forward to reading more of your wonderful writing.

    (As I said to another young writer, man I wish I'd known I wanted to be a writer at eighteen, so well done you!!)

  11. No worries, Mark :) Thanks for returning the follow. Looking forward to sharing some more of my writing with you :)

  12. It's so nice to meet you! And yes, I've been an avid reader for a while. Probably right after I graduated high school was when I really got into it. I read 100 books last year, but this year I've focused more on my writing, so I'd be surprised if I passed 30. Hopefully I'll read more next year. ;)

  13. 100 books! Wow. That's not a bad effort. Thanks for following :) You have an awesome blog.

  14. Lol...i was smiling thoughout reading ths piece of urs...:D...aah let me share my story!

    Like typical average parents, my parents were bothered more about my education & grades rather than my hobbies and I developed this reading habit myself even I dunno, I guess I staretd wid those meri saheli, Grahshobha kinda magazines my mothr n aunt used to get....well they were interestin :D...n later to chandamam, nandan, vigyan pragati n all...coz being a restless soul i found ths was best way to hook myself....n ths habit jst continued....

    I still remember I was so mad in my BE days, i used to sit on last bench to read novels and I was caught n kkicked outta class lolz....

    Now I find v les time n strangely since writing bug has bitten I m gradually loosing interest in readin...:P dunno Y!! ws interestin to be at ur blog...joinin tht we can keep sharing more..


  15. I've always been a reader, even since I first learnt to read at the age of five. It was about that time I started to write too, and I've never stopped since.

  16. Awesome! You have a big headstart on me then :P I'm a new follower of your blog :)

  17. I have still never finished The Lord of the Rings or the Hobbit, though I have started both.

    And as Madeline, who I cannot believe did not tell me about your awesomesauce blog, said, I want the books! My parents actually bought me a collection of Stephen Vincent Benet's poetry yesterday. I am looking forward to delving in.

  18. The Lord of the Rings takes a bit of perseverance, but it's definitely worth the read because it's such a good story with such and epic scope. And the world of middle-earth is pretty much mind blowing.

    I've never heard of Stephen Vincent Benet. I hope you enjoy his poetry, though! Reading poetry can be really awesome for relaxing :)


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