Read to write

Hobbit moleskin notebooks

Many decades ago, there was a young girl who would stay up late at night, reading with a torch under the blankets.

If a light was seen under the door, she’d feel her mother’s wrath.

She’d speed through piles of library books, win prizes in MS readathon competitions, and go on fortnightly restocking trips to trash and treasure markets, where the books were only 5-10 cents each.

More bookshelves were needed, and over time, her collection spilled out of her room into the family bookshelves.

I’m sure her nightly book munching under the covers didn’t help her eyesight!

Reading encourages writing

Inspired, she wrote many stories. First by hand, and occasionally illustrated. Then she learnt to touch type on an old manual typewriter, and plowed through black ribbons and white-out.

There were stories that looked very much like her favourite authors’. Imitation is flattery, right?

Strange dreams and some nightmares were clacked out on the pages.

But inspiration slipped away.

Few books read = no writing

She went to university, and her pace slowed. There was so much to read to gain her degree, and then more to read to correct when teaching.

She stopped writing all but the shortest of pieces. Poetry, a haiku, an occasional angst-laden phrase.

After entering the workplace, she wrote for a living. Dry, technical pieces.

Long commutes and longer work hours sapped away at her energy.

She lost her drive to read, and her non-work writing disappeared.

Start reading – start writing

Decades later, dealing with some severe health problems gave her some much needed space.

There was time and energy to read.

At first, a few self-help and health books were devoured, then new novels by her old favourites.

Ebooks require much less shelf space!

The compulsion to write returned.

But her writing felt rusty. Full of cobwebs. Mechanical and uninspired.

She went searching for fun exercises, fantastical worlds, writing prompts, inspiration, motivation.

At the top of my reading pile

Harry Potter und der Stein der Weisen, by J.K. Rowling – in German to help me with my language learning. Although I am lax in transferring unknown words and definitions to a flash card app.

The Right to Write, by Julia Cameron – to open the writing floodgates, with great writing prompts and permission to write whatever bubbles up. Next will be The Artist’s Way.

The 7 Secrets of the Prolific, by Hillary Rettig – to combat my ever-present perfectionist side, so often it gets in the way of writing.

Plus several other self help and health books, plus a few more novels from my favourite authors.

What are you reading?

What inspires you to write?

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