Am I still a writer?

You, anyone who wants to be a writer, may have heard, or read, that if you want to be a writer, you should read a ton of books. It’s the only way we can learn how to write, to understand what kind of material we enjoy. And I agree that writing without reading just a bits nonsense.

For that matter, I’m very disappointed with my self. Year 2011 has reached into middle February, and how many books I read this year?

One.

And it’s fiction, titled One Day, by David Nicholls.

I can’t say it’s a boring book. It’s a romantic comedy genre. It shouldn’t be boring right? Aside the fact that I need dictionary companion[1] while reading this book and made me exhausted. If only I have Iphone and it’s camera-dictionary-translation so I can translate faster, and read faster… #wishful thinking

Although I’m only reading one book this year (yet) and just start another writing project. I still have a goal to published 33 books before I die. ( I have published 3. 30s more to go)

So what’s my excuse for not reading more books?

Well, the points of reading for writer is learning the craft and enriching material.

Apparently these days we can get it from other source.  Movies, songs, and the most enriching source are from living a life, experience new things.

Experience new things shouldn’t have to do with something big, like vacation to Greece (although I keep it on my dream) Small things like: Get lost in a road you never walked before. Have lunch in a place you never dine-in before, learn new song, trying new coffee blend. It’s all worth experience for writer.

And I believe new experience way much better than reading a boring book.

Note for writer (ie, me): Don’t write something that made your reader lost interest in the first page, put it back into bookshelf, and never take it until the next bookswap event.

We have to concern more to the reality that book has lost many readers these days. This is an Internet era. Things happen fast. People love enjoying something simple, short, and fast:  Laughing to funny tweets, stalking interesting people, playing Angry Bird game on IPad, read simple and enriching article on Internet. Computer and Internet aren’t for nerd anymore. And TV show has theirs own groupies.

Aside of reading only one book this year, I read hundreds interesting article. Also read The Social Network Screenplay. It was AWESOME. I love it. And I’m glad read it before I watched the movie which probably only took 2 hour.

I have to say read 120 pages TSN screenplay in two days, taught me more things about writing than reading some books.

So, just because I don’t have anything else (yet) on my book list doesn’t mean I stop learning. The key to improve our craftsmanship is never ending learning, from whatever source, and off course to not stop practicing. Write.

UPDATE:

okay i’m not really only read one book and one script, I have few books that i haven’t finished reading yet… Some of those books are.

  • The Help (Kathryn Stocket) english language edition. Since english is my third language, i think reading this book make my english worst, there are so many grammatical errors. I assume it’s the syle of the character… since there are so many character written from first person…
  • The Girl With Dragon Tatoo  (Steig Larsson)
  • Great Expectation (Charles Dickens)
  • Black  Swan (Non-Fic)

[1] Note: English is my second language. Third actually. Family communication use Banjar language, Indonesian language at school, plus Java language while studying in Jogja. It’s really hard being Indonesian, there are too many language to learn.

13 thoughts on “Am I still a writer?

  1. You make a lot of good points. I agree that we as writers have to experience the world. Those little items like going to a Denny’s restaurant if you’ve never been in one before might add flavor to a scene you write. The reason I read dozens of books a year is to study the craft of writing. I like to see how those who succeed put their words together, pace their plot, handle the introduction of minor characters—that sort of experience. All of my books are dog-eared where I turned a page, amazed at how the author handled some plot item or scene. Very fun!

  2. Jacqui thanks. I agree with you. I think i just made an excuse for my self here ^_^ Reading alots of books off course still one the best way to learn the craft.

  3. I didn’t read books (novels) period until I went to college. Literature class helped a lot (critical thinking). Journals helped a lot. Keep at it. Sylvia Plath wrote a letter to herself “I am a writer, I will be a writer”….if you want it…it will come.:)

  4. Hi Andie (thecompulsivewriter) .. offcourse you read novel period on college, your took LITERATURE class ^_^ If you weren’t it will be like music student never heard a song.. ^_^

    I heard Sylvia Plath was great. I never seen her book on bookstore here… But i keep hers on my #WISHLIST. Probably i should buy them online…

  5. I agree with the importance of reading if you want to write (or even if you don’t), but that doesn’t always equate to the number of books you have read. Sometimes, a particular book takes a lot of study to really understand, but you might learn more from that intensive study than you would from quickly reading three other books. I had a group of friends once who were film students, and they spend an entire weekend watching The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance continuously, over and over, each time looking at it in a different way or analyzing different things. They could have watched ten movies or more in that time, but they probably learned more from really studying just one.

  6. Anthony, I can’t agree more! Thanks…
    I do sometimes loves to read one interesting books over and over again, just to find new things that i haven’t notice before… btw. You have an interesting blog about movies and books, but it has no comment form, so i couldn’t leave my comments there, perhaps you need to change your setting

  7. farah, there is a link for comments, right under where it says “Print Friendly,” but my blog is not a wordpress.com blog (I host it myself), so you would need to log in (create an account). I tried copying some of the posts to a new blog over here at wordpress.com, so people could comment more easily, but apparently that’s a violation of the Terms of Service here.

    Thanks for the kind words, though.

  8. Auntie Farah,

    I have just read your blog and WOW you can talk a lot! (Just kidding XD)

    If you need more English literature I am always happy to buy them for you here and bring them back with me when I come home. I purchased new copies of To Kill A Mockingbird and Great Expectations for about 5 AUD each (granted it was a crappy paperback).

    I am not a writer at all but I enjoy reading books, and I think I got that from you! =P

    P.S: You must read Leo Tolstoy, you must, you must!!

  9. Hi niece Cindy… (I feel so old now, Where can i buy time freezer, cause i need one… #pre30 syndrom)

    What the hell do you mean I can talk alot? @_@ off course i do. the only reason i wrote this in english because i want to improve my english. I planned to live in New york someday… (wow, i’m a hardcore dreamer😀 )

    YES!!! BRING ME SOME BOOKS! And no i haven’t read Leo Tolstoy bring me that one too!😀

  10. You know what, I gave up reading that book and changed to the new one. Hahaha. Its language is difficult. Don’t you think that’s because of ‘the Scottish accent’?

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