What an ambiguous title.
all good writers will tell you that there are no rules for writers. Almost no rules. I mean, for the most part, there aren’t rarely any rules. Except don’t copy other writers, but even that’s up debate. Right? Translation is an art. Apparently. I’d probably respect it more if I knew another language well enough to translate anything, but since I don’t I can raise my nose in ignorance. That’s not the rule I’m talking about anyways.
There are no rules for writers. Sure, you should strive—perhaps if you are a prairie poet—to be extremely concrete. I don’t want to see the word abyss anywhere, especially if it uses some awful adjective. But there are no rules, except the one golden rule: You must read. This rule, by and large, is accepted by everyone. Except me.
I hate reading. It’s not that I hate reading. Reading is just the third thing I would like to do. First, I would like to be on my computer/internet. Second, I would like to watch TV. And for the record, just so that we all stay polite, Leah trumps all three (though I am sure she will have some comment about the first).
Rhett how did you get an English degree if you hate reading? Excellent question. I read Coles/Sparks notes. Or wrote down quotes, important pages, dog-eared and underlined pages. Took notes of plot-lines from the prof. Some times, I read the whole book. I wasn’t a great student. Delinquent, they say.
Other than being delinquent, I enjoyed the doing more than the consuming. And you might say that one has to do with the other. I am not sure. A large portion of my English classes were based around writing. Not just creatively, either.
But, these days I am a real writer. Or at least, I am being paid to write and edit. After not really writing (except blogging, etc) for a while, I needed to jump back in and quickly. And like all those conflicted with a certain delinquency, I started cramming. So I am reading again. Every night. Part of that has to do with the confidence I lost being laid off, but the bigger part of that is completely enjoying my job and want to be good at it. I want to be good at writing, so I am reading.
I know all you boomers and x’ers are rolling your eyes and saying just do it. But I am a Gen-Y’er. And I need to settle into everything. Re-learning how much I enjoy crafting words—even corporate ones—is such a joy. Now that I am reading and following all the rules of writing, I am settling into the definition of writer.
Currently, I am re-reading Green Grass, Running Water. Even though Thomas King was a jerk that one time I met him, I still love the way he tells stories. Hopefully, going forward, I will channel a little Coyote in my writing.
Photo by Jeremy Keith