By Jill Earl
“If you do not have the need to read, you don't have the right to write.”
The quote above is from C. Hope Clark, editor of Funds For Writers, a newsletter and website dedicated to all things writing. A couple of years ago, she wrote a pair of articles addressing her strong view that writers must be readers, and gave readers permission to quote her. Reading it again brought back a conversation I had one day a few years before.
I was reading and waiting for a bus after work, when a man approached me to chat. He asked me if I liked to read. I said, “It’s my favorite thing to do, next to writing.”
“You’re a writer? Me too, I’m actually starting a book. What do you write?”
“Nonfiction for now. What do you like to read?”
Then he delivered the kicker. “Oh, I don’t read much.”
Did I just hear what I thought I heard? I asked him to repeat himself and he did. He didn’t read much. I tried to wrap my brain around his words.
Still struggling with what he said, I asked, “Uh, so what’s your book about?”
“Well, I’m not sure yet, but I’m sure I’ll come up with something.”
By this time, the arrival of my bus was a welcome escape, and I hurried aboard in frustration.
I’m with Hope. If you plan to make writing your career, you need to read. How else will find out about the world around you? Or learn about your chosen topics? Or develop your craft?
I suppose you can try, but I wonder what kind of work you'll produce? W ill it be writing you can be proud of, something that readers will enjoy?
It’s up to you. If you plan on being a writer, you have to read. You can't avoid it.
Now then, go find something to read.