“Write. Rewrite. When not writing or rewriting, read. I know of no shortcuts.”
— Larry L. King, WD
A good piece of writing is just not a product of knowledge, imagination and inspiration. It is also about the passion and the compassion, the empathy and the experience, the observation and the composition. You can use your imagination to create beautiful characters and sketch engaging plots, but the craft of language makes the difference between a good piece and a bad of piece of writing.
The knowledge of language, literature and genre plays the vital critical role in choosing the right words, the right phrase, using the metaphors and the anecdotes; the way it should be used in writing as a form of art. There are stipulated guidelines and there are standard structures in literature which a writer needs to respect and reflect provided he/she takes the pain of reading the volumes of literature. These are treasures of wisdom.
Reading is essential to writing but not an absolute dependent factor for producing a relatively good piece of writing…like everything in life striking a balance is the best path. Yes, you need to know about the mechanics of vehicle to drive it but not required to be mechanical engineer.
Books are a powerful source of information and inspiration influencing our life more than we can imagine. We broaden our thinking and we build our emotions from the nuances and nugget we pick from the multiple worlds that a book takes us. It is a new discovery and an adventure that ignites our imagination. We get a taste of romance, the humour, the mystery going through multiple genres. It’s an art and you need to craft the art to compose your imagination.
Yes, it is like asking the question to an actor to act without seeing the movies or a composer to compose without listening; they have to understand the ground where they are going play their game. But not necessarily you need to delve deep into reading to writing, and then you become a literary analyst and a critique of the literature. That’s not the objective. Better understanding and critical insights needed for writing are the essence of reading.
There is another school of thought strongly rooted in this generation. They are gutsy, they are spontaneous, they are versatile and they have spectrum of sources to acquire there content and form. Today, web is the defining source of information, television is blasting, movies are multi-dimensional and social media is cutting boundaries. They want to create magic redefining the contours of literature and language, pure language is undergoing the toughest test with the advent and invasion of digital language.
Being a voracious reader is always a competitive advantage. You normally develop the habit pretty early age and that gives you the edge in putting your writing in a different perspective. Perspectives that can make you connect and communicate with the target readers much better. You definitely have a better feel of the taste and your recipe gets well orchestrated to tune to the target taste.
Old classics are voluminous, the literature are lengthy and daunting. It takes time and pace to read and reflect. You need to acquaint with the history, the culture and the civilization of those periods to appreciate the stories and its context. After all what is essence of text without context? But the bigger question where is time with this generation to leisurely lay hand to the layers of meaning embedded in the literary classics. This generation is writing without reading the old classics. They are redefining the boundaries and defining new rules for the modern literature.
Perhaps, it time for breaking away from the past and making way to the new paradigm in modern literature. Allowing it to evolve and define its own boundary and building a new set of contemporary classics. After all a writer has to build his own world to nurture his idea and imagination to shape it’s nature.
Reading plays a significant role in nurturing the nature of writing but writing is a product of imagination and inspiration.