Over the past month, my writing has had a number of hiccups, particularly my fiction writing. But more than this, my writing has just run out of steam. After a bit of thinking, and a look at my Goodreads account, I quickly identified the problem – I haven’t been reading enough.
There is nothing new or particularly profound about this revelation, but it is important all the same – to be able to write, and to write well, you have to be reading. Not just every now and then, but all the time. Reading really is the fuel of writing – without it, writing becomes difficult, and writing well becomes close to impossible. Out of all the pieces of advice that successful writers have given to aspiring writers, the most common one has always been “to read, and read broadly.”
So while I could make my goals for March to centre around getting my writing back on track, instead I will shift my focus to getting my reading back on track, and in turn this will help pull my writing along with it. And I’ll start this goal today, with the aim of finishing at least one book by the end of this weekend!
While I’m here, I might as well discuss the two books I am reading (well, the two I am actively reading – there are several others I am halfway through that I’ll return to soon). Firstly, I am reading a book called Billy Connolly: Bravemouth by Pamela Stephenson (his wife). This is the second biography/memoir of Billy Connolly, the follow up to the hugely successful Billy that was written a couple of years prior. This one focuses on the year building up to his sixtieth birthday, and follows the similar pattern of flashbacks to his youth mixed in with the present happenings in his life, and many of the hilarious stories of the things he and his family get up to, as well as many pages of coloured pictures. For anybody who is a huge fan of this legendary Scottish comedian, like I am, this book is definitely worth a read, though I suggest you read its predecessor first.
The second book I am reading is one I am reading due to recommendations from quite a number of other people – The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery. I think I have mentioned this once before in a blog (maybe in one of my book hauls?), and this is definitely a book I had been meaning to start for a little while. I am only a few chapters in, so I cannot comment on it a great deal so far, although the language is stunning and the story seems intriguing and is definitely reeling me in. What little I can divulge is that the story centres around two characters – Renée, a concierge of a rich Parisian apartment building who presents herself as a stereotypical uneducated and uncultured concierge, despite a secret passion for culture and the arts, and twelve year old Paloma who lives a few floors up and is determined to avoid a bourgeois future by ending her life on her thirteenth birthday. Both of their lives are soon turned upside down when an unexpected event occurs within the building, and the events which transpire thereafter go on to make up the rest of this multi-million selling novel that has gained legions of fans around the world. I am immensely excited to read the rest of this novel.
What books are you reading at the moment? Do you find reading helps to fuel your writing as well?