For this week’s Blogging Insights prompt, Dr. Tanya has given us a quote about writing and asked us for our reaction to the quote.
The quote is from American novelist, short story writer, and journalist, Annie Proulx.
“Reading is the finest teacher of how to write.”
Dr. Tanya admits that this quote is a universal truth. After all, even as children, we learn how to read before we learn how to write. But she wants to dive deeper. She wants to know what to read and how to read. She asks, “Is ‘free reading’ helpful like ‘free writing’? Or should your reading be purposeful? Is reading books about writing helpful?”
Dr. Tanya prefaced her deeper dive questions by saying, “As an aspiring writer….” Left me preface my response by saying that I’m not an aspiring writer. I am a retiree who enjoys writing and who keeps himself out of trouble by blogging.
That said, other than my prompt posts, I write mostly flash fiction. The kinds of books I generally prefer to read are fiction: novels and short stories. I suppose that is purposeful reading. But I mostly read to be entertained and as an escape from the harsh reality of life, rather than as a tool to help me write better.
Finally, do I think reading books about writing books is helpful? Not to me! Reading such books make me focus too much on mechanics. For example, Stephen King’s book, “On Writing,” caused me to break out in hives every time an adverb popped into my head. I decided, as much as I admire Stephen King as a novelist, to go ahead and ignore his anti-adverb stance and liberally sprinkle my writing with adverbs.
Take that, Stephen King!