It's the first Wednesday of the month, and that means it's time to convene another meeting of The Insecure Writer's Support Group! Our leader Alex J. Cavanaugh has once again assembled some great co-hosts: Ronel Janse van Vuuren, Mary Aalgaard, Madeline Mora-Summonte, and Ellen @ The Cynical Sailor.
Don't forget to visit the IWSG website for great writing resources!
This post is going up a few hours later than planned. I've had a house full of sick kids, so that's kept me occupied. Kids don't like sharing toys, but they love sharing viruses. Good news is that they all seem to be on the mend.
Now on to this month's optional question!
It's been said that the benefits of becoming a writer who does not read is that all your ideas are new and original. Everything you do is an extension of yourself, instead of a mixture of you and another author. On the other hand, how can you expect other people to want your writing, if you don't enjoy reading? What are your thoughts?
This is a great question. I can understand how someone might be worried about being too influenced about other works they've read. The things we read are clearly going to shape who we are as writers. There's no way around that, but I don't think it's a bad thing, either.
It's been said there's nothing new under the sun. Is it even possible to have an entirely original idea that in no way resembles what someone else has done before? I'm not sure. Even if you never read, you're influenced by the world around you, as are other writers. Your ideas still may not be as original as you might think. I also know it's possible to take an idea that has been visited by others and put a new spin on it. The idea doesn't have to be the most unique in the world if the execution of that idea is good.
This is where the disadvantage of never reading might come into play. I'm not saying never reading means a person can't possibly write a compelling story, but it may be more difficult. Through reading, we see the methods other writers use to build atmosphere and convey ideas. We see how they build characters and complete satisfying character arcs. This can be an invaluable resource as we navigate the process of creating our own stories. Personally, I think I'm a better writer today because I'm a reader.
What do you think?