Thank You Stephen King for the Inspiration
“If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have the time (or the tools) to write. Simple as that.” – Stephen King
All great authors of our time were also voracious readers, or so Stephen King tells us in his fabulous book, “On Writing”, but then he adds, with the exception of a very few whom he could not understand. They were the exception to the rule. The rule is that you must be a reader first, a writer second.
Reading then must come before writing. Reading books, preferably in voracious volumes, must be as much a part of you as the desire to come to the blank page to produce your own words. Reading must rule as large a part of your days and hours as does writing.
I stopped reading books after high school when I entered the world of technology and engineering. I became “serious” and didn’t have time to “leisures” such as reading and it is one of my greatest regrets in how I wasted opportunity to read.
In 2006, an insatiable reading hunger came over me and I fell back into the habit again. I picked up books, old books, new books, and everything in between. I started to read at home, on the road, on planes, in hotel rooms, before bed, early mornings, late nights, and every other moment in between that was not well spent. I became an obsessed reader and my condition has only become worse over the years!
“Books are a uniquely portable magic.”
Since then, I have read about 300 books and continue to read between 50 to 75 books a year. Some are short. Some are epic (Anna Karenina anyone?). I move through a great many genres from novels, biographies, memoirs, business books, fantasy fiction, health books and how-to guides and so much more.
If I had to guess why I fell into reading so hard, I would say it’s because I allowed myself to read whatever that my little heart desired, not what I “should” be reading. I made a decision to never again read anything that I do not thoroughly and completely enjoy. That means I feel fine discarding a book that does not meet the bar or leaving a book unfinished to move on to better ones.
That freedom has been the fuel to the fire of my reading desire, and I just know that I shall not live long enough to read all the books that my heart and mind want to consume.
39 Reasons Why Every Writer Must Be a Reader First
But why? Why is this such an integral part of becoming a writer? What exactly is the relationship between reading and writing especially for those of you who – and I am envious of you if you fall here – are gifted with flawless command of the language?
Stephen King tells it best in “On Writing”, a book I cannot recommend highly enough but since you are here, I have summarized my experience in 39 reasons for you. I beg you to give reading a chance even if one of these reasons resonates with you. Reading …
1. Acts as a mental stimulation.
2. Improves your vocabulary.
3. Makes your writing stronger.
4. Enhances your memory.
5. Fills you with renewed inspiration.
6. Reminds you why you want to write.
7. Grows your appreciation in other authors.
8. Is the best way to consume a single idea.
9. Is an interactive way to decompress the mind.
10. Gives you a sense of urgency about time and how you spend it.
11. Makes you a better conversationalist.
12. Offers you a great exposure to the many uses of the language.
13. Increases your comprehension abilities.
14. Gives you courage to take risks with your writing.
15. Improves your story telling skills.
16. Increases your knowledge in whatever area you wish.
17. Teaches you what not to do when you read bad writing.
18. Reminds you to keep the reader in mind as you write.
19. Emphasizes the importance of clarity for your readers.
20. Improves your imagination, and this you need in order to write.
21. Helps you become the kind of writer that you aspire to be.
22. Shows you the liberties that you can take with writing.
23. Teaches you the rules of good basic writing.
24. Helps you discern between strong powerful writing and poor writing.
25. Gives you the tools you need to express your ideas well.
26. Helps you get in touch with your creative side.
27. Makes your writing flow. It just does.
28. Inspires you to see yourself as a writer.
29. Reminds you that it takes work, really hard work, to consistently write well.
30. Motivates you to take action to create your own work of art.
31. Plants the seeds of self-discipline to becoming – and remaining – a good writer.
32. Makes you proud to belong to the amazing world of writers and readers.
33. Provides you with a growling list of role model authors to look up to.
34. Brings you face to face with what you want to do and asks you to commit.
35. Cures “writer’s block” or writer’s funk (if you believe you suffer from the condition, assuming it even exists).
36. Makes you feel good about the act of writing.
37. Shows you the pure blissful joy that is reading good writing.
38. Gives you the perfect escape when you need a break from your own writing.
39. Feeds you with the precise adrenalin rush that you need in order to come to the blank page and to write.
These are just a few reasons that every successful writer is a voracious reader first.
Why All Readers and Writers Need to Be On Goodreads
On the flights over to Chile, where I am writing this blog post and celebrating my birthday, I read a fantastic Kindle book, “Goodreads for Authors”, and it opened me up to this single best place online where readers and writers come together.
I spent the last few days setting up my profile on Goodreads and reviewing the hundreds of books that I have read in the past 5 years and I invite you to do the same. You will not regret belonging to an intellectual platform that exists for one thing and one thing only: the love of books and those who share this crazy love. Let that be you!
If you are a budding author, create an author page and claim your books, as well as build up your own reading list and wish list for future reading, and connect with others who share your interests in books, as well as with your own friends.
This has been my greatest discovery, and one which few bloggers, writers, social media enthusiasts or fellow entrepreneurs have ever mentioned. I’m shocked. We’ve been missing out, people! Goodreads is the most exciting place because you get to share your passion for books, and if that’s not the basis for an amazing friendship and connection, then I don’t know what is.
Quick Action Request for You Dear Reader
If you are not on Goodreads, create an account and let’s connect. We can learn about each other’s reading preferences, compare books, and inspire each other to make reading a habitual part of our lives.
My quick action request for you:
1. Go to my author/reader profile page.
2. Add me as a friend so we can see each other’s book reviews.
3. Become a fan of the author page to participate in future giveaways and events.
4. Anticipate my fun upcoming giveaway of 10 hard-cover copies of “The Healthy Juicer’s Bible” (coming May 1st!).
Are you ready to embrace reading and you will not only have a companion for life, but also have an infinite source of inspiration to write for a living? Tell me your thoughts on reading and writing or both in the comments. And I’ll see you either down there or on Goodreads.