You might think that less reading, more writing would be counterintuitive. Afterall some of the greatest writers of our time and our past have all lived and breathed reading for enjoyment, as a hobby and pass time or as a resource for honing their craft so you would think that the profound amount of reading they did played a huge part in their creative output. The purpose of this post isn’t really to discourage your reading, it is more here to help you focus and further maximise your writing time.
You are not creating when you are reading, although it is important to read to expand your horizons and help your writing it has diminishing returns beyond a point. By spending your time reading you are marvelling at the creations of other people who actually sat down and wrote the novel, book, article. I believe people, especially aspiring writers read too much (why wouldn’t you as everyone encourages it?), but I would like to suggest that although you read can you really say that your chosen material is aiding your writing process and increasing your output? I would surmise that it is not and furthermore I believe it is hampering you. I think it would be more constructive to being the day writing something, creating something, destroying something with words as your weapon before relaxing with a good book.
Stephen King’s On Writing, Strunk and Whites – The Elements of Style etc may help guide you, but if you are spending all your time reading the musings of successful people or scouring reddit for writing articles then you are forgetting the most important lesson a writer needs to learn which is JUST WRITE. Even if your writing is crap, even if you can’t string a sentence together without screaming the word FUCK and ripping it up the important thing is that you are writing and for you to have even got that far you have the hidden ingredient to improve. You may never be a successful writer, you may only write for pleasure or writing might be the backbone of your job career, but putting words to paper, characters to screen is where it needs to start.
So start chanting this mantra after me: Less reading, more writing. Less reading, more writing. Less reading more writing. Get to it!
Can you improve on any of the tips I’ve discussed here? If you can let me know in the comments.