July 20, 2011

ROW 80 Check In: Reading and Writing Go Hand in Hand

I'm thrilled with my A Round of Words in 80 Days progress. I adjusted my goals to allow for a family vacation. I knew I wouldn't enjoy my time away if I was pressuring myself to write 750 words a day. When my six-year-old asked me to put my computer away because she hated it, I knew it was time for a change. Focus and balance are two things I struggle with, and adjusting my goals allowed me to be productive and enjoy my family. Win, win. 

My goal from Sunday through Tuesday this week was to read two books, write reviews, and continue to blog daily. I'm thrilled to say I accomplished all of these. My review of Elin Hilderbrand's The Beach Club can be found at my Mom in Love with Fiction blog. And, I completed my review for Call Me When you Land  by Michael Schiavone (scheduled for a September 2011 release) for Rebecca's Reads. It should be posted shortly. Starting today, I'm back to my original goals (750 words a day on my WIP, blogging daily, etc.). 

Image from http://www.dreamstime.com/
This goal shift reaffirmed my belief that reading makes me a better writer. Both of the books I read this weekend provided tips for my own writing. The Beach Club reminded me the importance of setting and description. Nantucket became a character in her novel. I even asked my husband to take me there someday. That's powerful.

Schiavone's book was a lesson in character development. He slowly revealed the depth of his main character's pain. Too much, too soon and I don't think I would have liked the character. But with the slow reveal, I wanted to both shake and hug her. Memorable characters are key to good story.

Better said:

"Books are the quietest and most constant of friends; they are the most accessible and wisest of counselors, and the most patient of teachers."  ~Charles W. Eliot

Now, I'm off to find out how my fellow ROW 80 buddies are doing. Who knows, maybe I'll learn a few things from reading about their experiences so far this week.

How does reading make you a better writer? Or, for my non-writer friends, how does a great book affect you?


Em said...

Well done on keeping your holiday goals!

I think reading helps me be a better writer by heping me decide what I do and don't like as a reader. I don't want to write something I wouldn't enjoy myself!

Hope your transition back into your 'normal' goals goes well

Stephanie said...

First off...I'm loving this page. I'm gonna have to bookmark it.

Second, when I contacted a workshop instructor about how one "shows" in first person without referring to things the character wouldn't normally mention about herself, she suggested I go through some well-written books to see how the authors handle it.

I now have a stack of six first person fiction works that I intend to at least glance through to see how they handle the situation.

I, too, have a book review blog and have joined Blogging for Books. Reading a wide variety of books helps me identify "good" and "bad" writing, form I would want to emulate and form I wouldn't.

Thanks for commenting on my ROW80 post. I 'ppreciate it.

Enjoy your writing...and your family. Mine are grown, but they still need attention from time to time.

Anonymous said...

Well done on keeping your goals and making adjustments when need be. Finding a balance is what it's all about--and the hardest part. =D

Katy Manck, MLS said...


Yes, reading absolutely makes you a better writer, without any doubt. When I was an adjunct professor, I could tell who read (and read widely) and who really didn't read much from their postings and papers. Reading lots of well-written works helps 'inform' your own writing style, even if it's nonfiction, like those graduate papers!

AND reading bunches really helps your spelling. You see words over and over, spelled correctly and used properly.

Great post, and a satisfying way to achieve your writing goals without losing sight of your family goals. Also agreeing with Stephanie about enjoying family time - and about the grown ones still needing our attention!

**Katy M
Recommending YA books beyond the bestsellers at http://BooksYALove.blogspot.com
Follow me on Twitter @BooksYALove

Tia Bach said...

Katy, I couldn't agree more. All reading helps me. Sometimes I learn more from what I don't like than stuff I love. It helps me avoid the same pitfalls. Thanks for always being a source of support and wisdom!

Em & Catie, Thanks for your support.

Stephanie, I'll be visiting your site more, too, and I appreciate your encouraging comments about my progress and the blog. I love the idea of seeing aside good examples of character development in books I've loved. Interesting.

Thanks everyone!

Girl Parker said...

While I was going to community college, I remember my two-year-old nephew approaching the table where I was studying and asking me to play with him. He said, "and not your pens and not your books." Point well taken. Now I try to get my writing done, but not at the expense of family time. Hard to do, but I try!