Before you feed others, you gotta eat yourself.
No. Don’t eat yourself. That’s just weird. I mean, you gotta eat something for yourself. Like, before you cook something for someone else, you gotta make sure you’re eating, or else you’ll pass out and then no one gets food!
It’s something that I tell others. If you’re gonna write, you gotta read. Some writers will tell you to read everything you can get your hands on. Others will say you need to read things you love. Still others will tell you that you need to read what other people are reading, so you know what to do to get people to read your stuff. All of that has some logic to it.
Me? I really think it’s simpler than that.
You just gotta read.
I forgot that. I picked up a book I’ve been meaning to read for a while.
It’s the last book in a series that I’ve adored. While it’s been out for a while, I’ve resisted reading it because, well, it’s the last book. I don’t want it to be done. I figured it was finally time, though, so I picked it up.
And then I realized I needed to get writing done, and like is so often the case in my life, I had to choose either reading or writing. I didn’t have time for both. I chose writing this time around, after reading the first 200 or so pages of the novel.
And, man. The writing did not go well. It wasn’t disastrous, but I could tell I was not on my game. Day after day of drudgery.
And I realized: I hadn’t read anything for fun for about a week. I needed to go read.
So I sat and read for about fifty pages.
And you know what? The words came so much more easily after that. I needed to eat words before I could go feed words to others. Before I could create worlds with my own words, I had to imbibe of the words of another.
If you’re stuck in your writing, maybe take a little time to read. Your tank might be empty. Or your stomach. I should probably stop mixing metaphors, but I’m pretty sure you understand what I’m saying.
Now go read something. Then put down that book, pick up the pen, and get to work.