Tuesday, September 29, 2009

What are you doing with your words?

I write better when I am reading.
No joke. It is part of the reason I love blogging. And a good chunk of the reason why I love reading. It's not about my posts, it about reading yours. And sometimes it's not about writing books, it's about opening others.
Stringing words together is like jewelry making. Even if I am lacking the diamonds I want to see what you are doing with your sparkly things. And I might even find a few for myself...

Actually, here's a better analogy for writing (since I know nothing about the world of jewelry making) Writing is like getting dressed. I know what suits me, I know my style and I know what size I am. But, hell yeah, I want to trawl through catalogues and see what's in this season. I want to squish my face up against the glass outside the department store windows and ogle all the pretty things. I dream of maxing out my credit card. I spend hours in store change rooms trying everything on half a dozen times. I want to know if my butt looks big in it or if the dress might be see though when the sun catches it.
I want to know what your wearing. Where you bought it and if they have my size. How much did you say you paid? What shoes are you going to wear with it, what are you going to do with your hair and, damn girl, where did you get those earrings?

That's why I read.
I want to see what you're doing with your words. I want to see what they are doing with their words. What goes with green? How did they describe the clear sky after the snow? What did they say about the old lady whose beauty can still be seen, even in the lines of her face?

I want to know how you see life? What moves you enough to make you post about it? What do you find funny? Do you write giggles and the sadness? What does this thing we spend so much time doing look like when you put it down on paper?

How do you write?
I want to see it.
I want to feel its fur, run my fingers across its sleek edges or just admire the sheer loveliness. And yeah, I even want to see the raw and the ugly; the cliff faces and the rocks on the way down. Because reading adds to who I am as a person, it opens my eyes to worlds I may never see and it invites me to imagine.... what if? Your writing sparks play spaces in my mind, with all their possibilities.
I have time to read. Even when I don't. Because when I stop reading, I find the writing dries up along with it. Reading and writing are two dear old souls who want nothing more than to sit together and chat. And I like to let them.

So, I guess that is all a very long way to say, I love reading and a huge thank you for the privilege of reading your blogs. And to all the authors out there who write and open the porthole for just a little while so I can climb in your heads and watch what you do with these exquisite things called words, I am forever in your debt.

What about you? How do reading and writing go together in your world?


  1. What a beautiful post, Tabitha. Your words are still resounding in my head, so I cannot yet come up with an answer of my own. I'm gonna let it be this way for a while.

  2. In some regard, reading is the teacher and writing is the homework. Although that statement shows writing in a lesser light, and it's not--it's the best homework in the subject that you love--reading sets the goals, highlighting the "WOW" and showing us ways to get there in our own writing. One time in high school I wrote a poem and my English teacher said of one of my lines: "I wish I wrote that." I am so many years out of school now and yet that praise sticks with me--as so many times in the ensuing years I have read words and thought as she did "Gosh I wish I thought of that."

    Reading and writing are husband and wife, nuturing and cohabitating until they almost blur together in a single complimentary unit.

  3. I love this post and agree completely. I read all the time--books, newspapers, blogs. For me, blogging has added knowledge and depth to what I write, as well as camaraderie of other writers. I thank people like you for that. If exercise improves our musculature does not reading and blogging improve our skills as writers? Indeed.

  4. For a long, long time... before I finished any of my novels, I held fast to the flawed notion that I couldn't read while writing. NOT SO!!!!!!!!!!!!
    It was only after I opened my mind to all of the arts around me that I realized my mind needed the stimulation. The "I can do this!" or the "Not like that I won't!"

    I learn, sadly, from other writers mistakes. Kind of like when I see a personality flaw in someone and realize I have it too...

    When I read a wordy sentence, I think about cutting it down, trimming it to make it better, and then I do it in my own work. (I need constant trimming!)

    And the blogging... is my editing exercise. I write, and edit. I see my flaws, I see the words I over use... I decide between voice and vice. Etc. GREAT POST!

  5. I am always reading something. Reading fuels my creativity. Sometimes I hate what I'm reading and I learn about what doesn't work (at least for me). And sometimes I love what I'm reading and that makes me want to make my writing better.

  6. They have something in common. I don't have much time for either one of them. LOL

    Lynnette Labelle

  7. I love your post! Talk about inspiration. I read for a similar purpose. To be inspired, to see what else is out there, to push myself to take risks. It's so amazing to see what comes of it!

  8. Reading is very important. I think it can only help us grow as writers. And, thanks to you too for allowing us to read your blog. It never fails to inspire.

  9. Well said! I LOVE reading too, honestly I feel just like you, reading blogs, seeing people's lives and learning and sharing.
    But I'm always with a book too. In fact, yesterday I read a whole book. It was so good!

  10. Reading while writing definitely inspires me too. Sometimes, I get caught up in what I'm reading and forget to write, but it's all about balance. When I do both, I'm better at both.

  11. I read all the time, blogs, books, whatever. I always think of Burgess Meredith in that episode of The Twilight Zone where he is the only man left on earth in front of the library and his glasses get broken. That would be my worse nightmare!

  12. Well said and I totally agree. Reading definitely fuels my writing fire.

  13. My relationship between writing and reading is exactly as you said it. I writer much better when I'm reading. I LOVE reading blogs because they allow me to see the world through another person's eyes. For me, this is like receiving the perfect gift... just being able to think somebody else's thoughts and understand life from somebody else's perspective. I get so much inspiration and joy from reading my favourite blogs (such as yours!).
    I don't believe anyone can be a good writer without being an avid reader.
    The love of words. :)

  14. I love this post. I've always thought reading and writing were the same thing - dancing with words. Nothing makes me happier than a perfect turn of phrase or a new metaphor or that certain feeling that happens only when a miracle of words is born on a page. I don't care whether the words come through me or someone else. It's the magic that matters.

  15. I find my creative energy is totally tied to reading. When I get too bogged down and stop reading, my writing stalls out as well. Great post.

  16. You have a lovely blog, and an even lovelier way with words. I don't believe I could have a happy existence without reading being a huge part of it. I cannot write if I don't read. In fact, most days I can't wait to finish writing to get back to my reading.

  17. I find I can't write and read at the same time, that's why I finish books in one day.

  18. I loved the shopping analogy. Blogs are such a compelling , eye opening read, that they often cause me to rethink ideas for my characters. Not so sure I can handle an intricately plotted novel while still crafting my own. Guess I have a one-track mind. LOL

  19. This is wonderful! Lately my word pool has been awfully dry and I have been reading a lot but the funny thing is most of it has been about environmental stuff -- very in the now news based stuff. That does not really lend itself to much in the way of creativity. Work has picked up too (I review these things for my job) so my focus has shifted substantially and my personal blog, poetry, prose and novela are all in a holding pattern. Phases, it comes in phases now and one day I will spew it all out! Thanks for reading and writing!