Sunday, June 2, 2013

Mile 8 - READ A BOOK
A tip a day to keep the rejections away

Welcome to my marathon of writing tips—one tip a day to make you a better writer.


What are my qualifications?  For several years, I’ve written the Pet Vet column for the Post Bulletin newspaper.  I’ve had articles published in RunMinnesota, DVM360 journal, and The Wagazine.  I’m in a wonderful critique group that meets weekly to tell me everything I’ve done wrong.


Save yourself some time by learning from my mistakes.




Today's suggestion is based on pure instincts, not scientific research.  In fact, some writers may take issue with what I’m about to say.


So what is my controversial advice?  


Simply this:  Read a book.


Not your CP’s book.  Not a novel you’re Beta reading for someone.  And most definitely NOT YOUR OWN WIP!


Back away from your words, and read somebody else’s for a change.


And don’t take notes.


This is where some may disagree with me.  Many writers believe that those who wish to improve themselves should always read with a notepad and pen nearby. 

But I disagree.   


If you want to take notes, be my guest--but I give you permission to JUST READ.

For fun.

Remember when reading used to be FUN?

Isn’t a love of books why you started writing in the first place?  That’s certainly what did it for me.  And now it’s gotten progressively more difficult to turn off my internal editor when I read.  It’s annoying to listen to my internal editor's constant interruptions when I just want to get lost in a book. 


I fear that as I learn more about writing, I become more critical.  Not that I’m perfect.  But it’s gotten harder for me to truly enjoy a book.


It makes me sad, because I used to open every book with excitement, and now it’s with a little bit of fear.  Will this book be good enough to silence my irritating internal editor?


I want to love reading as much as I used to, so I’m not going to take notes anymore.  I’m going to send my internal editor on a mandatory vacation, and try to read like a child once again.

My suggestion is that you do the same.  Fill yourself with childlike wonder, so that you have a well of inspiration inside you to draw from the next time you take up your pen.

See you at mile nine!

Abbreviations as follows:

MS = manuscript

CP = critique partner

WIP = work in progress

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