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.