As a child, you most likely learned to read before you wrote your first story. This seems to be the natural order of things when it comes to talking about reading and writing.
“Reading is the inhale. Writing is the exhale.”
– Justine Musk, author of Blood Angel
Growing up, I read everything I could get my hands on, including our two-volume World Book dictionary and the encyclopedia. I drank words and books. Both my parents read and encouraged me and my three siblings to read. But it wasn’t until the fifth grade that I wrote my first story and during the sixth grade the teacher selected my story to read to the class. (I was embarrassed and excited at the same time.)
So what does all this have to do with intuition or building a writer’s intuition?
To be successful in anything, you need PASSION, have or being willing to obtain KNOWLEDGE, and be actively DOING.
The passion part is wanting one thing so deeply that you’re willing to do it over an extended amount of time. The willingness to learn and to know is the knowledge part of success. Passion drives us to do research, to read, to write. By doing the work of writing (and reading) we nurture our passion. It’s a cycle not unlike the turning of the seasons.
We can look at gaining knowledge in two ways: learning from outside ourselves and learning from within. The world around us is your knowledge base and you’ve been learning since the day of your birth (if not before). You see, hear, touch, taste, smell the world and all it contains. You learn. The second way to gain knowledge is build upon the outside gathering of facts and experiences. This inner knowledge comes with an inner voice, what is called intuition.
A writer’s intuition is build on a lifetime of learning from the outside world, from reading the works of others, and this creates a space within you that grows your inner voice, your intuition. You don’t need to understand HOW it works, but just that it DOES. (You might not know how a computer works, but you still use it…)
If you don’t feed your intuition by reading, you are starving your inner voice and losing out on another means of KNOWING.
The final part of success is the active doing what you love to do. For writers, reading is the essential building block to becoming the best writer that you’re capable of being. Read. Read. Read. Not only will you enjoy wonderful stories created by others, but you’re also absorbing, even unconsciously, how characters are build, how to develop plots, the element of weaving in the various elements of fiction into a strong story, word choices, place and character names, how to add tension and conflict, when and how to use foreshadowing and backstory, etc. The list goes on and on.
You probably can guess the second part of the DOING. Yes, it’s the actual WRITING. Get to it.
I read all the time. I bought a Kindle so that I could do even more reading. When I write, all the outside knowledge and my writer’s intuition work together to help me see the characters, find the plot, and craft the story.
To become the writer you want to be following the three steps:
Define your PASSION
Gather / gain KNOWLEDGE
Question for today: Do you allow for both parts of your writing life – the reading and the writing? Do you see connections between these two? Share your thoughts and experiences.