Monday, November 14, 2011

Writing vs. Reading

Yesterday I was laying in the tub getting a rare hour of relaxation while my husband took the kids.  I was also reading (as a mother, multitasking is a must even when relaxing) and I kept thinking how I should be writing my own book instead of reading someone else's.  Don't get me wrong, I know being well and widely read is as much a part of good writing as writing is.  However, lately my reading to writing ratio has been heavily skewed in reading's favor.

I started thinking about how much easier it is to read than write and how I wish it were the reverse.  But that, of course, isn't going to happen because the difference is this; reading is the equivalent of climbing into a car on a roller coaster, dropping the bar to hold you in and that's it, that's all that's expected of you.  The coaster does the rest of the work to take you on (hopefully) a great ride. 

Writing is the equivalent making your own coaster.  You sit down with a great idea, sketch a bit, then realize you have no idea how to do what you want to do.  So you go hunting for tools to educate yourself.  Once you've done that you design and engineer your own coaster, then badger family, friends, recent acquaintances, perfect strangers to test ride it for you and tell you how to perfect it.  Then you spend countless hours working out the glitches, sanding out the rough spots, doing everything you can to make it a smooth, seamless, enjoyable ride.

It's a lot of work and it's hard work.  It takes self-discipline, fortitude and an almost pathological ability to believe in yourself despite all the rejections and criticisms and better roller coasters than yours.  But it also brings it's own sort of satisfaction and enjoyment.  After all if you're the one who makes it you're the first one who gets to experience the ride.  And though it's sometimes a hard slog, there are always those loop de loops and twisty turns that make you laugh and screech in delight and think wow, I created that.


Laura Marcella said...

Awesome analogy, Angie. This is so true, too. Sometimes it is so much easier to read something that's already great than to try writing your own greatness! We forget that the perfect book in our hands went through as much toil as our own writing projects.

PS) I LOVE rollercoasters! So much fun :)

Old Kitty said...

So true!! I remember a few months ago when I made the mistake of blurting out how I would love to pursue and MA in Creative Writing eventually - one of my work colleagues said I should go for it because - "all you have to do is write a book within a year - that's easy".


Take care

KarenG said...

I like to do both and I always think of how quickly I can read what took someone countless hours to produce.

prerna pickett said...

I struggle with this, too. But sometimes you just need to step away from your world and immerse yourself in someone else's. Think of it as research, it makes me feel better in that context.

Heather Kelly said...

I always think like Karen G about this--what took me an hour, day, week to read took someone a year, two years, five years to create. But I take solace in the fact that sometimes these books live on inside me for my whole life. I think that evens out the equation.

I am definitely riding the roller coaster right now!

Anne said...

So very true!

Talli Roland said...

I do love that screechy feeling of pride! :)

Blackbeard said...

You have a naturally funny style I enjoy thoroughly. Strength to your pen!

MISH said...

Great writing-rollercoaster ride analogy.
Nice to meet you *waves*