A Writer Needs to Feed Her Imagination

Ann H Gabhart Ann's Posts, One Writer's Journal

I talked to a fun bookclub on Monday night by phone. I’m not great at hearing on speaker phones, but I could tell those ladies of the South Zumbra Church Book Club were having a good time. And not just because they were talking to me although I’m sure that put a little extra zing in the meeting – getting to quiz the author of the book they’d read. Actually they picked my book to read because the mother of the beautiful model on the cover is a member of the club and she picked the book. I told her one thing for sure – they couldn’t knock the cover. It’s perfect for the story. I asked them how they picked their books and they had a dozen different ways. They’d just read Gone with the Wind not long ago and I thought that sounded like a great idea. To revisit some old favorite books. I read Gone with the Wind in one long Thanksgiving weekend when I was 13 or 14.

Is there any better way to read a book than to just lie down on your bed or sit in your favorite reading chair and wallow in the words until you’ve read every last one? I can’t do that very often these days. Too many chores and responsibilities and books of my own I want to write. But I do think it’s vital for a writer to read. That’s the advice I always give young people, but you know it’s good advice for any writer. I’ve been reading Stephen King’s book On Writing. He says nobody can be a good writer without being a voracious reader. He carries a book everywhere he goes and reads in minutes snatched out of a busy schedule. I need to do that. Steal a moment here and there to read more books. A writer needs to feed her imagination and what better way than to read and read some more. Reading brings new ideas your way, and King made the point that all the books don’t have to be great. That reading a bad book can bolster your confidence. That nearly every aspiring writer has at one time or another read a book and said “I can write a better book than that.” And then he adds that reading a really great book can inspire us to think I want to write a book that good. So it’s a no lose situation.

Of course I have to admit I don’t stick it out through a book I think is really bad. I close it up and find another one. There are just too many books out there to wade through a book I’m not enjoying. Unless of course it’s a research book, then I wade on in. So just a thought or two on reading. What do you think? Do you think you have to read to become a better writer? Do you ever give up on a book and start another one?

Okay here are the quotes I promised last Wednesday.

“You know you’re old when you’ve lost all your marvels.” –Merry Browne (Could she have any better first name for that quote? And I don’t want to ever lose all my marvels.)

“There are no shortcuts to any place worth going.” –Beverly Sills

I hope you are going to lots of places worth going and that even if you can’t take any shortcuts that you will enjoy the road and discover plenty of marvels along the way.

One last note – I’ll be up in New Albany, Indiana for a booksigning at the Heaven Help Us Bookstore on Saturday between 11:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. If you’re in the area, come on over and say hi. They’re celebrating five years of serving the Christian community in that area.

Oh yeah – another really last note – If you want a chance to win my book, The Outsider, go visit Rose McCauley’s blog, http://www.rosemccauley.blogspot.com. She does a book give-away every month and this month it’s mine. What better way to get a book than free!!