1. shards
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    shards Member

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    Can you be a writer but not a reader??

    Discussion in 'The Lounge' started by shards, Jun 22, 2016.

    Just curious as to whether you as a writer are an avid reader or if you stop reading or can do both comfortably.??
     
  2. BayView
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    BayView Contributing Member Contributor

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    When I first started writing I stopped reading for a couple years, but that was after a lifetime of avidly reading everything within reach. And after the first couple years, I started reading again.

    The general consensus seems to be that reading is very important in the life of almost all writers.
     
  3. Simpson17866
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    Simpson17866 Contributing Member Contributor

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    I could never stop looking for stories even half as good as those I've already read
     
  4. Kerilum
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    Kerilum Member

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    I do often read physics non-fiction, but I'm not an avid fiction reader. I've picked up a few books recently, though, which I haven't done in a while.

    I think it's important to have a book that you're reading to keep up to par with all aspects of writing. I found myself disagreeing with what I said until I picked up Game of Thrones and 2 more. Seeing how the other writers do it allows me to develop a stronger flow in writing.
     
  5. Malisky
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    Malisky Fuzz Overdriver Contributor

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    I think that you can but it's quite rare. I don't read so much lately, because nothing so far connects with my mood and whatever I tried reading was disappointing. I'm not an avid reader but a situational. Whenever I get really into a writer or a book I feel addicted and might go on reading for days non stop. But when this is over, then I feel that nothing can compare to what I just read, so I don't even try to find another book to keep me busy. It's a fine time to get in writing though.
     
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  6. FireWater
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    FireWater Active Member

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    As a person who supports diversity and non-conformity and individual choice, yes, of course you CAN do whatever you want.

    But in my experience with writer friends and people who's work I critiqued, the people who don't read a lot generally aren't that great of writers. Their ideas can be excellent, but typically the voice is flat and the dialogue doesn't ring true and the scenes that are supposed to have a certain punch (moving, scary, funny) just end up falling flat. This is because reading is a huge part of the craft of learning to create those things.

    Of course, as with any generalization, I'm sure there are exceptions and that is great. But on the whole, when someone never reads, or when they only read non-fiction books (as opposed to stories/novels), the emotional side of their writing just does not develop fully. This is based on almost 10 years of heavily critiquing people's work from forums and in-person workshops.
     
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  7. Sack-a-Doo!
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    Sack-a-Doo! Contributing Member Contributor

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    I did the same thing. For me, it was kind of like what the Russian subs did in The Hunt for Red October, the 'crazy Ivan' move they used to clear the baffles.
     
  8. Link the Writer
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    Link the Writer Flipping Out For A Good Story. Contributor

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    I think you need to read in order to write, otherwise how will you know what works or doesn't work? It'd be like me trying to make a video game if I've never played one in my life.
     
  9. Acanthophis
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    Acanthophis ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°) Contributor

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    Do I need to go to an art museum to like painting?
     
  10. BayView
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    BayView Contributing Member Contributor

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    If you like painting, wouldn't you WANT to go to an art museum? Or at least look at pictures of paintings in books or online?

    Maybe not. Maybe you'd be so happy with your own activity that you wouldn't want anything else. But if you wanted to get really good at painting, you'd probably try to learn from others, wouldn't you?
     
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  11. Lifeline
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    Lifeline The Dark - not in Wonderland Supporter Contributor

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    Since I started writing I stopped reading, with the exception of research-books. Though these can be quite engrossing.. Maybe this is a phase I am going through, though I kind of hope not. I like what I am reading now :D
     
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  12. JLT
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    JLT Active Member

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    I kind of see-saw. When I'm not writing, I'm reading. When I'm not reading, I'm writing.

    There may be writers who aren't into reading, but I'd bet that they're few and far between, any more than there are musical composers who don't listen to music or artists who don't look at the art of others (and I've met exactly none of either types).
     
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  13. FireWater
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    Not everyone has the resources or ability to go to art museums - for example, people who have to work during the hours the museum is open, or people who live in rural areas where no such museums are available. But, a person who can't go to an art museum yet is passionate about painting could and should use other methods to see great art. For example, look at great art online and study the techniques, or get books that show illustrations of the work, etc.

    To me, this is sort of like saying "Do I need to get a MFA to be a writer?" No, definitely not - I'm not in a place in life where I can just dive into an MFA program, and either are most people. But, I still do things like read a lot, study writing technique online, etc. This is the equivalent of how an artist might not have access to actual museums, but can still take other steps to learn from the best.
     
  14. bonijean2
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    bonijean2 Senior Member Supporter

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    I love reading and writing equally well. Sometimes I will take notes while reading to remind me of what Iiked about the story line or writers style.
     
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  15. Malisky
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    Malisky Fuzz Overdriver Contributor

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    I used to do that too at some point now that you reminded me, but mostly with single phrases. Maybe I should try looking up my old journals. I think that this helps in writing, indeed.
     
  16. Miller0700
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    Miller0700 Contributing Member

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    That's me somewhat. Perhaps that's my problem.
     
  17. deadrats
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    deadrats Active Member

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    Of course, you have to be a reader. How could you not be? Why would you want to write if you weren't already in love with reading? I think reading every day is just as important as writing every day, even more so.

    I agree with the other poster who said it can show in a writer's work if they aren't really a reader. This is so true. And if not a reader, I don't see how anyone could have much success as a writer.
     
  18. Constance Cole
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    Constance Cole Member

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    I personally think that a writer that doesn't read is a very rare case. A lot of writers find inspirations in articles/books they read.
     
  19. Vagrant Tale
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    Yes, but you can be better if you read.
     
  20. Sack-a-Doo!
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    The only one I've ever heard of is Margaret Trudeau (mother of our current prime minister here in Canada). But that could have simply been a joke, too. It went like this (and popped up after her second book was released):

    Margaret Trudeau has written more books than she's read.

    Again, I have no idea if it's true or not.
     
  21. shaddix
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    shaddix richard simmons prodigy

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    I think reading is one of the best ways to learn how to write. If a writer is satisfied with where they are in their writing abilities (which I've never met one who was) than I think they could write without reading. The act of writing itself is also obviously important, practice makes perfect and all that jazz. But I can't help but make comparisons like everyone else. Could a movie director just stop watching movies and keep directing them for the rest of his/her life? Possibly, but I don't believe so.
     
  22. BWriter
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    BWriter Member

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    You can write without being a reader but it makes you a better writer if you do. Personally I find that great writing inspires me, bad writing makes me want to do better. It opens my mind to ways of manipulating language and how they affect the reading. I get ideas for stories I want to write and I find out what I'm not interested in. Basically reading, probably as much as writing, helps in creating my style as someone who writes (not a writer until some one pays me, open to any offers haha). So basically I think you can write without reading but for me it's better that I do. Everyone is different but I have never met a writer that doesn't like to read. I think I would have a lot of questions if I did.
     
  23. matwoolf
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    matwoolf Contributing Member Contributor

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    If you write but don't read, you speak but don't listen...you got no appetite, just a bloated ego.
     
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  24. Kieran
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    Kieran New Member

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    It is the reading different kinds of works that increases and develops your writing vocabulary and gives you different styles to reflect upon and be inspired by, while practically putting all that in use by writing. At least I would imagine it very difficult to develop as a creative writer if you never read anything or if you only read non-fiction books. Personally, I read tons as a child and even as a teen quite a lot. In my adult years I might not have if I hadn't found the Harry Potter series, and The Phantom of the Opera (which lead me to the fantastic fan novel 'Phantom' by Susan Kay.) For the last few years I have been much more a writer than a readers, but I started of as a reader.
     
  25. matwoolf
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    matwoolf Contributing Member Contributor

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    We need another 'How many great novels have you read thread?' Time is now, people.
     

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