I don’t need to tell you that if you are a writer, you need to be able to read, and read well.
You need to be able to read for the love of it, to glean inspiration from it, to pick out strengths and weaknesses from it, and to critique it in order to learn from it. The other lesson I have learnt is that you need to be able to read both widely across varied genres as well as reading deeply into the genre you write.
This is the start of a set of new series for my blog, this one in particular is on reading like a writer.
This first post is on:
Reading Non Fiction
I don’t even pretend to be a non fiction reader. Can’t stand it. Much to my father’s – who is a purely non fiction reader- disgust, I am a out and out fiction reader. I have no shame in losing myself in a story, delving into the characters, and disappearing into new worlds. I struggle to read non fiction because quite honestly I find it boring, I hate the lack of story and complete absence of characters.
However, in the last month or so I have come to realise that this way of thinking is a smidgen naive. Here’s why:
I recently developed an interest in space, physics and the concept of ‘alternative history’ more specifically the ancient astronaut theory. Just an interest mind – I haven’t suddenly converted to anything odd!
Anyway, the only way I could find out more was to research online, which I did, but everything I was finding out seemed to lack depth. There were articles, and opinions, and some interesting pictures. But I couldn’t quite get the detailed knowledge I wanted. Cue the search for Non Fiction books. The first two non fictions books I have found and started reading are:
‘A Brief History of Time‘ by Stephen Hawking
‘Aliens in Ancient Egypt‘ by Xaviant Haze
Both fascinating and giving me the depth I was seeking. But more importantly I already I have a million ideas for new stories. One of my pledges for this year is to read more, but in particular Non Fiction. I won’t be reading just non fiction because its too heavy and I would fail miserably. I want to read a minimum of 12 books this year, a far cry from the 2 or 3 I could sink a week before baby black was born, but still. If I do at least 12 this year I would be ecstatic.
What have I learnt about starting to read non fiction?
1. Non fiction (can – depending on what you read) provide interesting facts, ideas, new thoughts, new lessons, new concepts, new everything.
2. It can open your mind to completely new… everything. It will lead anyone with half a cell of imagination into world upon world of new ideas, places and characters.
3. You learn from it, and in topics your interested in
4. You build knowledge = building skills = more ideas = better writer
5. You can find new hobbies or interests and even better, build knowledge of those areas
Does anyone out there read non fiction? If so, what types of books/topics? How do you find reading non fiction versus fiction? If you don’t read it, then I hope you try a non fiction book this year, trust me when I tell you slogging through is absolutely worth it, if nothing else, to improve your writing.