Monday, April 20, 2009

Writing Tip #653 - Dive Into a Hard Read

The old adage goes - Writers Write. Well good writers also read.
The more you read the more you open yourself up to other writing styles, concepts, and worldviews.

When looking for inspiration - try something out of your comfort zone. If you are into Zane take it up a couple levels and try on some Gabriel Garcia Marquez. One Hundred Years of Solitude is sure to get those brain cells surging.

I attended a writing workshop a few years ago and the instructor offered a tip that she says really helped her improve her vocabulary when she was a young writer. She would get a copy of the New York Times, a highlighter, a pen and a note pad. She would spend a couple hours reading the various sections of the paper, highlighting and recording the $20.00 words that the NYT is known for, then look them up. She challenged herself to include the newly acquired vocabulary somewhere in her writing on a daily basis.

If you are feeling a little radical - dig into some reading from an author that you don't agree with. See how their mind works around the subject and how they've connected the dots and arrived at their position. There is always something to learn, even when you believe your positions are polar opposites.

I've recently taken up reading the Financial Times. Yes, I'm obsessed with the humungous financial crisis, but I also discovered that trying to keep up with the unfamiliar jargon, why "credit default swaps" are the work of the devil, and beginning to understand how the stock market works helped me work out the bugs for a complicated murder mystery that I had been struggling to write.

Reading work from an unfamiliar author or on a subject that you have no clue about can help you to think in new ways and absolutely improve your writing.

So go ahead, dive in!


No comments: