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The Expections of Writers (by writers)

Hello Readers!

I have read blog posts and tweets from other writers where they talk about the writing process- the good and the bad that comes out of writing their ideas. Phrases, lines, sentences, paragraphs- all that come along while trying to figure out what to say to the readers, being great and also not so great.

It’s a funny thing really. As readers, we do expect to read some decent content, don’t we? Why else would be bother opening up our Twitter app or our WordPress reader? Or even a newspaper?

Sometimes we read a post and we laugh because we read it and think ,“Hmm, I have never thought of it like that”. Sometimes we read and think ,“Now that’s interesting, I didn’t know that”. And sometimes we read and think, “That is so creative, what a genius way of putting it”. Of course these are only a few emotions we get out of reading, because as you know, there are a million different emotions in a text (read a novel for goodness sake, and we’ll talk about emotion, right?).

Hardly do I ever read a text and think it was a total waste of my time, or wonder why the writer ever bothered. But as writers, we don’t give ourselves the same credit.

We writers stress a lot about what we are saying in our work way more than we do when reading the work of others. Which makes sense, we care more about our work than how someone else’s turned out. However, we tend to forget we all sit down with our pen to paper and have the same stressors as the next writer, and the writer before us that just made that first book-deal, or reached 1000 followers on their blog.

As readers, we want to read something good. Yes, it is that generic. As writers, we just want to write something good. Again, it is that generic. But we forget that when we write. The word generic when it comes to our writing really makes us cringe because we think every word we write needs to be spectacular. But do we expect the writer of the book we are reading, or blog post we are browsing through, to have been this perfect? No way.

I’m not saying everything we come up with is great content. However, I think all ideas are relevant. I have (many times) started off writing with one topic and ended with a totally different one. Clearly, that doesn’t make for a great content piece, but everything I had said I totally think was meant for the world to read.

Usually when this happens, I break up the story into several different groups and keep the relevant parts for the post I am working on save the others for later. By doing this I end up with several different blog posts summaries that I dig deeper into later, and everything I have to say does make it online.

Since I do this often, generally I work on one project and an idea pops up that references one of the brainstorming-sessions I had before, and therefore that previous idea gets some loose ends tied-up. And sometimes I realize that the old and new project actually relate, and they get mashed together to form a more in-depth content than what I had originally pictured when I started.

Isn’t that just perfect, my fellow writers?

I have seen many quotes on Twitter and other networks from famous writers that talk about the writing process (and oh, it is definitely a process- a hard one).

One of my favorites is one written by Jessica Brody:

“Don’t be afraid to write crap. Crap makes great fertilizer.”.

Yes, it certainly does Jessica Brody. We all needed to hear it. We all experience a similar writing process, with the fails and the wins, but they are all important as we grow our stories into popular blogs and big-seller novels.

I write you this message today (also as a reminder to myself), on a day, like most, that I know you are struggling to say the right thing, to say that everything you have to say can be great with the right organization and context to support it. Yes, it really is that simple. You already know that as a reader since you read “crap” like this all the time, and keep coming back (wink).

I wrote this at 10pm on a day that I decided I needed to spit something out after not having written anything in about two weeks. You can do it too.

You have something to say, so say it, and write it so I can read it. I’ll air-clink my glass of wine with you afterwards.

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Read Like a Writer

I recently was asked what it means to read like a writer. This question enticed me to do some digging. Being a book-blogger, how I read a book and how I choose to write about it all depends on how the book speaks to its readers and how I can interpret that into a text for my readers.

When I read for leisure, even as a fellow writer, I drive into the story and see where it takes me. I spend little time dwelling on the structure of the text and more on the entertainment it provides me. The books I enjoy are ones that leave me turning pages because of character and plot development, and the sensibility the words bring to the story.

Reading like a writer requires the attention to the technique of the writing and if the message of the story is effective or not. I sometimes wonder if the technique and structure the writer has used would be the same way I would choose to tell my story. I think about a specific instance in the story and study it. I try to experience the story most a reader but as a writer by applying my story with the same technique and ask myself if it would lead my reader tot he most valuable outcome of the text I am forming.

I spend a lot of time looking for an error in the text when I read like a writer. To me reading what doesn’t work in a text helps to remove error in other texts. If I see something in a story that doesn’t make sense or doesn’t lead to a clear answer, I make a short list in my mind as a reference in my own writing.

Reading like a writer helps me when I write my story when I think about what the reader is going to receive from my story. Based on what I receive from a story I read helps me discover with my own story that my reader may receive something entirely different.

As a college graduate with a BA in English Literature, I know that reading like a reader, reading like a writer and reading like a scholar are three different types of reading. Analyzing a text in a literature classroom or as a stand-alone scholar is different than how a writer would read the same text. A scholar will spend a lot of the time examining the text next to the other texts of it’s time, history books and critic pieces to entirely examine the work and make a scholarly interpretation of it.

Writing my own book requires as much help and as much reading-experience I can possibly get. I could read 100 books a month and still not have learned everything there is to know how to write a book that is effective, clear and a pleasure to read.