August 29, 2016

Emily Harstone says Writers Must Be Readers

Emily Harstone says Writers Must Be Readers

There are essentially two schools of thought about how to become a writer. The older European school says read, read, read. The newer American school says, go to college – in particular a graduate creative writing program – and study to be a writer.

Emily Harstone (a nom de plume) wrote the following article, “Why Writers Need To Read To Be Writers” for the AuthorsPublish website [if you’re a writer and you aren’t a member, you should be]. Following AuthorsPublish guidelines, here is an excerpt from Emily’s article. Go to the article link above to read it in its entirety.

“When I was a child I read one book every day. And by a book, I mean a one hundred to two hundred page novel. Usually it was part of a series. Often it was nothing that would ever win awards. I read a lot of Nancy Drew, of The Boxcar Children, or Enid Blyton. I just needed to read.

“Out of that love of reading, eventually a love of writing developed. But it took a long time. I started reading a book a day in second grade. I started writing seriously at 14, 7 years later.

“As a professor of creative writing I meet people regularly who want to be writers.  They tell me that they don’t read because it will negatively impact their own personal style of writing. They say they can only be original if they are not influenced by other people’s writing.

“A friend of mine who has been a professor of creative writing for over twenty years recently told me that in the last five years this view has become even more popular and commonplace. When students tell her this she then asks who is going to read their book then? Who is going to buy it? This often results in the student looking down and mumbling the word readers at the floor, as if readers are something that should be completely separate from writers.”




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