Monday, June 9, 2014

If you can't read (or even listen to) a book...then quit writing.

Yep...that is a pretty inflammatory headline. But I stand behind it, and I don't care who you are. If you want to call yourself a writer, but can't take the time to READ...then you don't belong in the business. Seriously. And for some, you have risen to a point where other people actually think YOUR opinion maters...they send you a request and you give some lame excuse? 

Do you remember what it felt like to start out new? I still recall my first plea for just such a boon. Having read Eden by Tony Monchinski, I sent a request to him, asking if he might read and offer a "blurb" for my upcoming release, Zomblog. Not only was he kind enough to do so, but fast forward a few months and he wrote the intro to Zomblog II. Tony will always be a ROCKSTAR in my eyes. One of the good guys who was not so full of himself that he could not be bothered. His endorsement and kind words gave me a boost that I will openly credit for helping me get where I am today. 

There are a lot of things in the foundation of somebody who "makes it" in the writing world...and one of those things is the approval and acceptance by your peers. Being a rebel is fine, but having a few people that are further up the ladder reach down and give you a hand up...that makes a BIG difference. And as an added note, be careful of those asses that you KICK on the way up, rest assured you will be KISSING them on the way down.

Time to slap around my brothers and sisters in the book writing realm again. As a writer, how many times have you hit up one of your writing comrades and said, "I would really appreciate it if you could give my book a read....tell me what you think." You wait for the response and are more than a bit disappointed when you receive the reply, "I'd love to, but I am so busy writing that I just don't have time." or (and I love THIS  one) "I don't want to have it spill over into my stuff where I end up stealing your ideas." If you are worried about something like that, maybe you should just quit writing. There really are not any "new" ideas, there are many takes on a few MAIN ideas.

I get are busy. So is the rest of the world. Aren't you asking other people to take the time to READ YOUR work? I am not saying that you have to say YES to every single request...but when is the last time that you did say yes at all? And if it is a person that you call "friend", did you stop to consider what YOUR opinion might mean?

Now, let me knock MYSELF off of my own high horse to come out and admit that I do not read as much as I would like to, or as much as I probably should. I only READ about a book or two a month. However, I LISTEN to another 3 or 4 in that same span. When I am doing yard work, cleaning the house, walking the dog...those are all times that I can plug in my headphones to my phone and spend some time in a book.

I get it, the world is a busy place, but if you are a writer (or want to be one) and can't take the time to READ...then you are actually being VERY selfish, not to mention that you are inhibiting your growth. You work out to get stronger and study to become (hopefully) smarter. And if you have a job, no matter if it is doctor, mechanic, or WRITER, you have to immerse yourself in the craft, see what others in your field are doing, and LEARN if you want any chance of getting better. Would you take your car to a mechanic who has never looked under a hood, or had another mechanic show him ANYTHING? Then why would you read a writer who won't read other people's work?

Stop with the excuses. Pick up a book...even if it is only during your bathroom visits...and start reading. Go back through your old requests that some of your cohorts have sent over the years and maybe YOU reach out to them and ASK for the book. I know of a few people out there that I would gladly send a FREE copy of one (or all) of my books to if they just came out and asked. I have had plenty of my writing comrades give those excuses to me, and I know what it feels like. That is why I always say yes when a friend or new writer that I may have a passing familiarity with shoots me a request for me to read their work. Funny thing, but I have found some new writers to be an actual fan of in the process. I still am amazed when somebody thinks that my opinion matters enough for them to ask it.


  1. Have you checked out the App "Librovox" they have public domain audio books narrated by fans free of charge, they also have current titles available at a cost...groo_fan

    1. I somehow missed this comment. But I am checking it out. Very cool.