September 15, 2011

Wanting to write without wanting to read

I came across a article titled "Writers who don't read" that talked about the growing number of young writers who don't like to read. At first, the article made me angry at these aspiring writers because I believe that the two prerequisites to writing well are (1) reading a lot and (2) writing a lot. Anyone who thinks they can be a good writer without reading is just crazy. My love of writing grew out of my love of reading. I'm not a great writer (yet), but I wouldn't even be half the writer I am today if I didn't read so much throughout my life.

Then the article got me thinking about something else. It offered the open-ended analogy, "Wanting to write without wanting to read is like wanting to ___ without wanting to ___". Then it diverted to a discussion about culture today. Well, there is something that I find troubling with today's culture, and that is the amount of trash on TV. For example, I hate reality shows. I watched one episode of the first season of "Survivor", and I tried a couple of other reality shows years ago. Since then, I avoid them like the plague. So I can see how someone can want to make good TV shows without wanting to watch TV. As long as you don't want to watch what's on TV today. You still need to watch well-made TV shows from the past, or the handful of good shows today (e.g., "Fringe", which I am a big fan of).

So if there is any truism to wanting to write without wanting to read, it would be if you don't like what publishers are cranking out today, i.e., sequels and cookie cutter stories from the same handful of authors. But there are plenty of good books that have been published in the past. You still need to read.

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