Hungry Writers and Smart Readers

This blog is for writers and readers both. I can’t separate the two. Growing up, I was Summer Readingthe kind of kid who wrote in the attic and read in a hollowed-out hedge. The characters in books were as alive to me as my own – they’d have adventures together in my head. When I first saw the film of a favorite story, Peter Pan, I loved it, but was startled that what I saw on the screen didn’t match up with my vision. My Peter had more of an edge (and was rather hot). Writing and reading are a collaborative act. The writer takes the lead, but together we do more than apart. The minds of writers and readers connect through the act of reading to forge something new and unique.

Writers can anticipate this by reading our own work as a smart reader would. To allow our minds to visualize, our guts to react and our brains to question, even as we revise stories that we’ve worked on for months. If your stomach tightens, then that’s a good bet that the tension is working. If it doesn’t, then you need to consider what would increase the stakes. Continue to read other people’s work, both to learn more about writing and to train yourself in how to be a better reader of your own. Writers should hunger – to create characters that yearn to breathe, to tell stories that need telling, to reach readers that would care. To become a stronger writer with each sentence you lay down.

I see us all as hungry writers and smart readers, deserving of inspiration, celebration and support. I want this to be a place you can go to learn and be valued. A place for connecting through story, mind to mind, heart to heart.

Photo credit: “Summer Reading” by Sheila Sund via a Creative Commons License.



8 Comments

  1. Your observations are sharp, your comments smart and witty. I’ll share your new blog with our book club. Thanks for your beautiful website.

    1. Thanks, Susan! I’m thrilled with the work you did on the site. Other writers would be lucky to have your help.

  2. What a remarkable blogpost! “Hungry writers and smart readers”–a unique way to put what is essential about our roles. I love this post because it touches on how the best work requires an emotional and intellectual investment from both its creator and its audience.

    The website is a treat. The book suggestions are substantial and thoughtful guides.

    Thank you, Ellen, for sharing this.

    Joan Corwin

    1. Thank you, Joan. I’ve always been struck by how readers can get just as engaged with a book as the writer did. There’s a kind of synergy about it.

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