Bent Wrists Lesson #4: Read to Write

Time for another writing lesson!  First off, I thought I’d preach to you and sum up the last lesson.  It’s impossible to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth when you write.  No matter how hard you hit the gavel on the bench…it just ain’t going to happen (excuse my bad grammar).  You’re not in a court of law…you’re WRITING!  Remember that gaggle or google of butterflies from Lesson 3 that’s swarming in the air?  Well, you’re never going to catch them all in writing…but it’s sure FUN trying!

So, here’s another tip from a dip (I love rhyming…even if I have to call myself a dip).  To become a good WRITER…you must become a good READER!

Alan Cheuse (who I’ve never met, but I like his words) said it this way:

“…You yourself need to become a reader of a writerly sort, reading greedily, not just for entertainment but also focusing on the craft, the choices, and techniques of the author…soaking up numerous narrative strategies and studying various approaches to that cave in the deep woods where the human heart hibernates.”

You read to write.  By studying techniques of other authors, not only do you relax your writing wrists, but you discover new word patterns and ways to manipulate your cowpie nuggets discovered in freewriting and make them into something more useful than a dog sniffer!  Nice.

I used to read only for entertainment (which isn’t bad), but when I delved more into writing, I found myself going back to old books and reading them again to figure out what had grabbed me and why.  I studied how the author used point of view and their word choices…and I would find inspiration for my own writing afterward.  The more books you read, the more tools you’ll be able to put in your writing tool belt for later.  Whether you like a book or not, figure out the good and bad of the words and how they affected you.  Did the author not build up the characters enough to engage you in their lives?  Or did he use the word AIN’T too much, like me, and really tick you off?  Figure it out and put that knowledge away for future use—or nonuse if it’s annoying.

Read, read, read…and you’ll WRITE better.  Now sit back and relax.  If you want, I could give you a TIME-OUT and demand that you sit and read.  Massage those wrists of yours, grab a book…and indulge your writing self in critiquing and learning from others.  Happy Reading!  Until next time…(don’t make me count to three!).


10 thoughts on “Bent Wrists Lesson #4: Read to Write

  1. I’m currently reading ‘The Sun also Rises’ by Ernest Hemmingway. Sometimes, I find myself mentally rearranging his sentences because some of them seem out of kilter. He has a strange style that some describe as the iceberg theory (theory of omission). That’s okay with me as I don’t mind filling in the blanks with my imagination, but some of his sentences seem clumsy. So, yeah, I agree with you, read to be entertained, but also to learn what works and what doesn’t work.

    • Hemingway’s not my favorite, although I appreciate him. I’m reading a knock off of the Old Man and the Sea right now…called The Old Man and the Wasteland. When I get done, I’ll let you know if it’s any good. The one thing going for Hemingway is his simplicity. Thanks for checking in! It’s fun seeing what others read (especially writers).

  2. HI there, hopped over from Cartoons & Creative Writing.
    i love the way u write! i devour books & have just started writing a few years ago – not yet regularly but hope to this year 😉 Read on!

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