Don’t Reinvent the Wheel

[t]../articles/images/2530-Wheel.jpg[et]Regardless of what field you are in, there are a few conventional words of wisdom that get thrown around. You must do X if you want to succeed. For writers it is, “you must read if you want to write. You must read widely and within your own genre. In this way you are able to learn from those who have had success, you can learn as much from a bad novel as a great novel. There is no sense in recreating the wheel when the blueprints are already there—you can redesign and play with it, but you don’t need to start from scratch.”

I have been struggling with a point in my current manuscript. I didn’t want to flesh out the character to the point of giving him his own story line, the focus needed to remain on the main character. But it needed something more to read plausible. I make time to read for pleasure, it is time I guard because I believe it is important (and also because I just love to read). The other night I was reading [i]Himself[ei] by Jess Kidd and there was one line that perfectly summed up the skewed relationship between characters. It was in this line that I realized I would be able to craft something simple and short to flesh out what I need for the relationship to feel deep without getting sidetracked. That line reminded me that every time I pick up a book I am working on my style; I am researching how to write effectively.

Whether you’re a visual artist, writer, psychologist, mathematician, or performing artist it’s important to observe others within your chosen field. Whether you go to learn or just to enjoy, you never know when you might have that moment that clarifies a problem you’re having. And in surrounding yourself with the work of others, in a more relaxed and pleasurable environment, you keep the passion alive within you. If you give up reading for pleasure and read only to write or critique yours or others’ work you will lose a bit of that pleasure. Losing sight of why you started in the first place can have an impact on the quality of work you produce.

You don’t need to devote hours a day to reading for pleasure, taking in performances, or whatever is involved in your choice of industry, but you do need to maintain a grip on it. There needs to be some time dedicated to simply enjoying the path you have chosen through others that are on it. Through the observation of others who have achieved success (or not), we can always learn.

Reading is vital if you want to write and this translates into all other fields, be a part of the world you want to be in, learn from those around you and never lose sight of why you started.

Deanna Roney is an AU graduate who loves adventure in life and literature. Follow her path on the writing journey at

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