When I started my journey as a writer, I read a lot of things on the internet and books pretty much anything I could get my hands on, always trying to find a fast track to being an author. I learned many things one: There is no fast track in the writing world. Only trial, error, and lots of ink.

One of the writing blogs I read said “you can’t write if you don’t read.” So I took that tip to heart, I was always considered an avid reader growing up and I continued that quality into my adulthood. The only problem is, all the authors blogs I read talk about reading the one thing I don’t read, the classics.

 I decided if I really want to give this writing thing a go I need to crack the spine of a classic. So I delve deep and picked a book in the Dickens series. Three chapters in and I felt as though I found the perfect way to interrogate a person without leaving a mark. Plus all the extra time I spent trying to apply myself to the classics was killing my writing time.

Three library book  renewals and a solid month later. it dawned on me the reason why I can’t do this. when I thought of classics I just picked an old author and had at it. The story in the Dickens book was nothing like the books I read. Nothing like the books I write. Classics mean more than just an old book, they mean a book that stands the test of time. Looking harder I found classics authors like Mary Shelly, Jane Austen, and the Bronte sisters.

I spent that summer reading all the classics I could find, and I realized something, that reading the classics doesn’t make me a good writer. A better educated writer, sure. But this read the classics quest was really just another attempt at “a writing fast track.” If people only ever read the classics then there would never be any new books. Sweat and ink are the only way to succeed in the world of writers and maybe some day my story will be counted among the classics.

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6 thoughts on “Reading the classics

  1. I read the classics to learn about style. I read popular fiction because they actually have plots I enjoy. I’m probably an appalling travesty of a writer, but whatever. Read what you want, I always say. The only rule I believe about reading is what you mentioned — writers need to read. It doesn’t matter a whole lot what you read (unless you read exclusively Archie comics), so long as you’re reading and learning and thinking in new ways. 😀

  2. I really like this post! You hit the nail on the head. We all have to find what works for us, both in writing and in reading. I read anything. Anything that keeps my attention. If a book does not keep my attention I put it down. I used be one of those “read to the end at all costs” people until I began writing. Some how doing the hard work, made me a pickier reader. I have to like the story. I have to get invested in the characters. And while I can read paragraphs of intricately crafted descriptions and I can even feel humbled by elegantly elongated sentences, if the story sucks, I don’t care who says it’s great, I won’t read it. I used to think that if I did not get a story I was lacking. Now I am a firm believer if a book sailed over my head, then the writer was lacking. I have read hundreds of books in my life time (maybe even thousands). Smutty romances, oldtime westerns, horrors, classics, philosophers, poets, memoirs, YA, comics, you name it i’ve read it. I am not the smartest person I know, not even close. But I am well read. I am a reader like few others. Some classics make me swoon, others make me fall asleep. I no longer let a book make me feel inadequate. If I don’t get it, i tend to thin the writer has wasted my time. (but thats just me)

    1. Exactly, Well said. I totally agree with your read to the bitter end. I use to do that as well. Why I think is the next question? Thank you so much for leaving a comment and for giving me my next blog inspiration.

    1. I am glad. Thank you for leaving a comment and I am so sorry it took me so long to respond I didn’t know there was a spam folder on this site. Now that I do I will be watching it more closely from here on out. Hope to hear from you again soon.

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