Hank over at Write To Reel asked if I would give him a testimonial to use on his site, and after finishing it last night, I thought I’d put it here as well in case there are other writers out there looking for some great insight on their work.
How better to learn a new craft than to study it judiciously? To disassemble, remark upon, and appreciate the work of others who have labored over their craft as much as you have yours?
Step into any creative writing classroom, lecture, or seminar, and one of the first and lasting assignments you’ll be given will be to read. Read everything, as though the world is ending and the only way to spare it is by absorbing as much of its literature as you can.
It can be a daunting task, especially when all you want to do is sit down and write the next great American…whatever, but the importance of absorbing as much as you can from other artists cannot be stressed enough.
I didn’t care about reading when I was a kid. I liked it, sure, but only when it was able to hold my interest for more than two sentences. Unfortunately, that habit of skipping past great pieces of work carried on into adulthood, even when I was reaching the point when, ironically, I needed someone to sit down and read my work; to tell me whether or not I was kidding myself.
Hypocrisy notwithstanding, I sought out to find other writers who shared the same passion, but had the patience to guide me in the right direction. I knew I had something of value, even if it was buried beneath pages of unnecessary scenes and characters, and I just needed the right readers, who could see where I was taking the story, even if the draft they read wasn’t worth their time.