As writers, it is easy to get caught in production mode. We study ‘how to’ books, read improving blogs, swot up on tips for creating better characters or shaping an eight-point plot. Thanks to the bounty of the internet we stand in the midst of a torrent of useful information that promises to make us better versions of our creative selves.
Yet… What does any of this speak of the love of words?
It is all very well to hone our craft, but it is paramount that we not lose sight of the sheer pleasure of reading that inspired us in the first place.
This week I binge-read books that are the literary equivalent of a three Michelin star meal: Barbara Kingsolver’s Poisonwood Bible and The Goldfinch, by Donna Tartt. About 1300 pages in total and lord knows how many hours of pleasurable indolence. Time I could have spent writing, studying, or planning a new project, sure, but — hell — what is the point of being a writer if not to slip the leash occasionally and romp in literary splendour?
Discipline, dedication and commitment are essential to writing. But so is wallowing in the delights of a delicious book. If you haven’t read either of the two novels mentioned, treat yourself, and do so post-haste. Or grab whatever tome you’ve been saving for a rainy day and rediscover the power and glory of great writing. The time you spend will be repaid amply in inspiration.
What’s the best book you’ve read lately? Share in the comments!