Every published author I have ever met or had contact with has always been an avid reader – or was perhaps until writing left little time for reading other writers’ efforts. Unfortunately, I have to confess though that I have also met folk who claim to want “one day” to write a book who actually read very, very few books.
Fortunately I have only met one lady like the one visiting our church many years ago. It was not long after I had my first book released, when this rather “forceful” lady told me she intended to write a novel too one day – in fact, a “Christian one”.
I rather tentatively asked the question I usually do when speaking to a would-be novelist. “What kind of fiction do you enjoy reading the most yourself?”
She tossed her head. “Oh, I’ve never read a novel. My parents would never let us read fiction of any kind.”
It was obvious by the look on her face she was quite serious. I had just met a reader who had never read a novel and yet wanted to write one!
After a quick, inner prayer for wisdom, I tried to explain how important it was to read a variety of novels of different genres to decide which she enjoyed the most. That would be the kind she would need to learn how to write herself. She stared at me in some surprise and it was obvious this lady did not agree with me. I have to be honest and admit I am glad she did not contact me again!
My biggest problem as a writer is the opposite of this woman’s. I simply want to read and read and read books by other authors. There simply never seems to be enough time to read all the books I’d love to. Sometimes I acknowledge it is sheer procrastination when I do not feel like writing my own manuscript. This undisciplined reader then has to deliberately ask the Lord for strength to stop reading, put hands on keyboard and write!
And what helps me the most to exercise discipline to work on my own stories? Being faithful in reading the Greatest Book of all – The Bible. Not only reading the scriptures is essential but pondering on the words, meditating on how God wants me to put His Word to me into practice in my own life, how He wants me to obey Him first of all in every area of my life. I have discovered He wants my life to be well balanced. I do need to read novels because I am a novelist and these are learning tools for me. Now, how did that author engage me in her story so I did not want to put the book down? What did she/he do in a book that left me feeling unsatisfied with the characters, perhaps the conclusion?
However, I also need to put into practice all the priorities God has for me each day – and not let my sheer enjoyment of a book lead me to disobey Him that day!
And of course, some days His priority is writing posts for this blog. And some days it is doing promotional work for published books as we are doing again this week. If you know of anyone who can be in Hobart tomorrow, do let them know both Ray and I will be signing our books at Koorong shop from about 11am to 3pm.
We love to meet our readers - and to read comments here too!