“What do you write?”
I looked up from where I was poring over my text of The Epic of Gilgamesh for my ancient world literature class.
My roommate’s friend was sitting cross-legged on the beige carpet, eyes fixed on me. Pressure was on. I tensed up a little as thoughts rushed to my brain. “Um…”
The possible responses all rushed through my brain at once. There were completely idiotic options like “writing…books…stuff…you know” or “novels” or “nothing” (true of the moment at least)…or… “I’m not really published.”
In a moment of panic, I blurted the first word that sprung to mind. “Fantasy.”
I winced at that. I had just labeled myself as complete and utter nerd.
“Oh cool. What kind of fantasy do you like?”
I froze up again. What? Fantasy? Wait…I’m a college student…when do I read fantasy?
“Um…well I’ve mostly just read the basics…you know… Lewis, Tolkien, Rowling?”
“Yeah? Have you tried any of Terry Goodkind’s books?”
Great. I had not only put myself into the fantasy nerd label but had run into a person who actually knew what they were talking about.
“No…I’m kind of in school…not much time to read.”
“Yeah, that makes sense. I could bring those books by if you’d like?”
Of course, a few days later what was sitting on my desk? A thick 800-page book. I stared at it, part intrigued, part scared. While I do love reading and certainly have enjoyed fantasy, I have never delved into anything more than a silly teen fiction. And with that moment of realization it suddenly occurred to me how atrocious my reading habits are.
I have continually been told that reading is the best method in becoming a better writer. And yet with my scholarly pursuits reading has taken the back burner. As I discussed in a previous blog my attempt to read Les Miserables over the last semester was an utter failure. And something about that is wrong.
I suppose what I’m getting at in this blog is that I am lacking an important aspect of my writing skills. Sure I still read for class (when it’s required). Sure I still do get through a few books over breaks but if I truly want to be a great writer I know I have to do more than that.
I’m not really sure how to conquer this problem but I know that I need to find a way to do so soon or I fear I might slowly sink into the depths of bad writing. Any suggestions?
I have always been well disciplined at writing at least every other day. Sometimes it’s just a journal entry. Sometimes it’s a short little snippet of a story. That element of my life is well established.
But without investing my time in putting books into my head I fear I will never be able to pull books out. After all, it takes a reader to make a writer.