Writing has ruined reading for me. I still enjoy reading, but now I read like a writer.
What does it mean to read like a writer? It means reading to learn, analyzing the author’s word choices, analogies, and metaphors. It means taking the time to look beyond and beneath the ideas with a weird sort of x-ray vision to understand the skeletal framework that holds the piece together. For me, at least, reading like a writer means I scrutinize how the writer conveys an idea rather than the idea itself.
When I read fiction, I judge the merit of a book by how little time I spend analyzing it. If I become so engrossed in the tale, swept away by another person’s imagination, that I don’t stop to pick it apart, it’s a good book. If, on the other hand, I find myself thinking about how I’d do it differently, or what might have worked better, the book scores lower on my scale. The kicker is, I’m just as likely to go back to the book I loved and pick it apart on a second reading to see what makes it tick, as I am to see what made the other one a turn-off.
No matter how many years you’ve been writing, you can always benefit from paying attention to how someone else does it. We are always learning, always seeking new ways to present ourselves and our ideas.
How do you read? Do you go with the flow, lost in the ideas of the writer, or do you look deeper? Do you read like a writer?
- Write or read (elleamberley.wordpress.com)