You never know when it will come in handy.
Read all kinds of stuff. I’ve got a friend who never subscribes to magazines, but he goes to bookstores and pulls magazines off the rack that catch his interest. Less of an investment than a subscription, and you would be amazed what you find at newsstands. Magazines you had no idea existed.
And, if you push yourself to read stuff that may not be right up your alley, it may really pay off.
I am currently working with a producer about an idea, and two articles I had read within the past three years blasted together like atomic particles (or puffed wheat, shot from guns!) with a nonfiction book I read over Thanksgiving and together, floated to the surface of my murky brain… Their content combined and twisted my original idea (that was hacky and derivative from every movie I’ve ever seen) into something that smells like a MOVIE and is incredibly interesting because it’s based on real life.
We’ll see how it goes.
Reading informs your writing when you start because it shows you what other people are doing as you work to find your own voice. Reading informs your writing when you’re further down the craft road because you can find little things you want to try in your own work, or things to avoid!
You read something good and you want to raise the bar on your own work. You read crap and you realize that your bar has been raised on its own over the years. For example, there are some authors I can’t read because the writing is so bad. This is interesting if I return to an author I used to like, but because of the reading I do, I realize they just… ain’t that great… and I put the book down.
Anyway, this is a bit of a disconnected ramble… but I was so pleased that these distantly separated bits of reading-from-the-past combined to help me come up with a killer idea, that I had to share.
I hate that word. “Share.” Reminds me of when I was in church at age 16, chasing after my 16 year old girlfriend, and a guy in camo fatigues came up wanting to witness / share about his experiences in Viet… nam. “Nam” rhymed with “Spam.” When he was done sharing about all his agonies, I realized I hadn’t wanted him to share it at all. Like the punchline to the old joke, “I don’t believe I’d have told THAT, brother…”
Hope you don’t feel that way about this post!