How important is reading for writing and thus, writers? Let me take you through the journey of my life and the my transition from ‘book hater to book lover’.
Books, reading and studying were words I once thought were absurd and not really meant for me. I hated reading books and studied for the sake of performing in academics. Soon, I got admission into Master’s degree in Computer Science; it was then that I started reading for knowledge. Little did I know that this was just the beginning of my love affair with books.
After I finished my Master’s with flying colours, I ended up in a profession which was more than delivering knowledge. I was absorbed as a Lecturer in a prestigious Science college. Reading more and learning more were only means for me to excel in the profession. Once again, I was hooked onto books, but this time around, my approach and perception towards reading had differed a little.
Marriage and child brought a new meaning to life and thus arose the need for a career transition. Flexi work hours and a non-commuting job was what I was looking for. The all-mighty had some plans in store for me and therefore sent an Angel who blessed me with a book.
The Angel was a friend of mine who is a huge fan of ‘Chicken Soup For The Soul’ series and reads every other book released in the series even if it does not feed her soul! She had recently read the ‘Chicken Soup For The Writer's Soul’ and recommended it to me.
The book is over 400 pages and I amazed myself by polishing it off in just 3 days. To finish a course book of this size, I would normally take a whole academic year and at the end of my exams, I would still say I left a good part of it unfinished.
Reading through the book and travelling the time line along with the authors like Cheewa James, Bud Gardner and Lawrence Block was an amazing experience. I felt fascinated to know how they became writers.
Barbara Jeanne Fisher shares how she overcame obstacles and her story inspired me to move on. Elizabeth Engstrom, who shared her journey of publishing her first book ‘When Darkness Loves Us’ says at the end, remembering the words of Ted Sturgeon- ‘Never forget: it doesn’t matter what you write. What you believe will show through’. My desire to take up writing as a career had begun to gain strength.
This was just the story of turning me to a book lover from the book hater. The real story is how my love for reading made me a better writer. Here we go-
1) The kind of research that goes into writing content for clients is sometimes intense. Clients have diverse requirements and you may or may not be knowledgeable in a particular genre. All you can do to help yourself is read and research. This profession not only requires the right research techniques but also rapid reading skills. Being a fast reader, I find it easy to come up with a good piece of well researched content.
2) As I read new things, my domain knowledge in various genres grew and is always there in the backend (as referred in computer language) of my mind. The next time I encounter a client’s requirement in the same genre, I have little or nothing to read and research, thus saving myself a whole lot of time.
3) Reading good books and new subjects not only helped improve my vocabulary but also improved my writing skills.
4) Reading the works of different authors helped me cultivate the niche of developing content with different styles and tones. I am now confident about writing for a diverse demographic.
This book from the Chicken Soup series inspired me and gave me courage, confidence and more than anything, the faith to do what I wanted to do; to write and to become a freelance writer. This is one book which hooked me to many other books. It gifted me the interest of reading and quest for knowledge. I am glad I pulled myself on to the chair and read this amazing book, all thanks to my dear friend.
Along the way, this wonderful book blessed me with my second career and I kick started my second innings of life with ‘Reading for Writing’. Now I have come to a conclusion that - ‘reading is the magical potion for the writer’s soul’.
Medha, Queen of the queensquill.com and a freelance writer, writes for supporting her love for words from her home office. She formerly worked as lecturer with a master’s degree in computer science and now caters the needs of her son. Catch her 140 characters @QueensQuill.