Read a thousand Books and your words will flow like a river.
– Lisa See
This probably means that if you read nothing then you’ll end up being one horribly dried up river bed, right? Haha… Heeeeey you and your beautiful self and welcome back to the Musings of an African Writer, I hope you’re doing great. I am doing fantastic.
Now I write this article in the full knowledge of my own weaknesses as a writer. I understand that reading takes discipline, concentration and consistency but unfortunately, I in many ways are lacking in all. Whether this directly relates to whether or not my writing blows, I will leave it up to you to decide.
I’ve always struggled with this little thing called reading. It starts out really great, I grab a really cool looking book, read the author’s bio and the blurb and decide within myself that this is the one for me. I’ll even chew through the pages like a hungry dog (not literally because that’s not healthy for you…haha) only to get bored after the first few chapters and let my book gather dust.
The logical thing of course would be to take it a few pages a day and bear through it but like I said, I lack the finesse of disciplining myself to finish what I started. Now I can argue that this absolutely has no effect on my writing at all, but I will admit now that we are walking in candor that the lack of discipline and consistency has made my writing suffer big time. How you may ask?
Well the pile of unfinished drafts for one just keep piling up and I never get to know how to finish the stories because somehow someway the stories just lose their luster and join the mounting pile of abandoned Works In Progress. Now you can blame this on me which is valid, as a person it is a question of my ability to stick with it till the end, which is true. I cannot stick it through till the end and that means that I am unfamiliar with the end.
It’s a habit that I have; unbeknownst to me of course, trained my mind to adopt. If I lose interest and the work no longer excites me, it means that it is a problem with the work, it is not as good as I initially thought so I should look for something else. But you see I wouldn’t know how bad the story really is since I never give it enough of a chance to finish it and actually decide you know what, this thing sucked and I wasted hours of my life I will never get back.
Often times and I don’t know if you can relate, I’ll have the idea in my head and in my case a million of them flowing into my head, inspired by so many things, movies I’ve watched, books, something that happened that make me want to write a story. But then I get down to do it and the words just don’t flow right.
I have everything I want to say in my head but the minute it leaves my fingers it’s garbage. Why? Well because like a river, as much as I am a writer and I may not suck as much as I think, a river is sustained by the fact that water not only flows out but keeps flowing in. Reading is therefore every writer’s regeneration of their powers so to say.
Imagine yourself the most powerful superhero who dispenses imagination to save the ordinary human being from the mundane. They thrive on your ability to create worlds and transport them to those worlds, but this task alone can be pretty exhausting. Your only weakness is the fact that even though you are as powerful as you are, you cannot survive without keeping that imagination going in yourself as well.
Reading is our way of allowing ourselves to be saved at times, to let someone else bear the burden of transporting us, and creating and etc and etc and if you think about it, it’s pretty great actually. Most of a writer’s life is spent in front of his screen, away from people and distractions and it can take you away from reality quite much, leave you drained.
So the next time either you or I put down a book because it’s boring or we don’t feel like doing it, consider the alternative; consider the cost of the world losing the most powerful superhero just because you didn’t allow yourself a few chapters, a couple of pages, a new world to rejuvenate, get that power back to keep saving the world from the realities of life.
Your biggest fan,