The Difference Between Reading and Writing

You know those well-meaning questions that just really grind your gears?  There is no malicious intent, no harm intended, but they just really bug you?  The question I often get (and more often than not it’s from non-readers) is “so when are you going to write a novel?” Let me clear this up, there is a difference between being a reader and being a writer.  Sure, you can be both, but you can also be one or the other.  I don’t believe that you have to be an avid reader to be a good writer, and I don’t believe that you have to want to write to be an avid reader.  The fact that I am writing about this is somewhat contradictory to my argument, but I stand by it because blogging is not the same as writing a novel.

The question I should probably be asking myself is; why does that question annoy me so much?  Shouldn’t I feel pleased that people have faith in my ability to write a novel?  I probably should, but I think what it comes down to is that the people who often ask me this question have not read anything I’ve written.  It’s purely based on the fact that I like to read, which is not a good enough reason to assume that someone would a) be a good writer and b) want to write.

Here is my number 1, top reason that I would not write a novel…are you ready for it?  I’m lazy.  Don’t get me wrong, there are a variety of other reasons why I wouldn’t want to be a writer, like the fact that I don’t have a story to tell and the fact that I don’t consider myself to be very good at writing (not to the extent that is required in order to produce a good novel) but I could put all those other reasons aside if I wasn’t lazy.  If I wasn’t lazy, I would probably write a novel “just ‘cos”, with no intention of ever getting it published or having anyone read it.  But the thought of sitting down for hours every day to write just does not appeal to me.  Sitting down to read, on the other hand, is pretty much heaven.

Aside from my own personal reasons as to why I wouldn’t want to write a novel, I firmly believe that enjoying books does not a good writer make.  It may benefit your ability to spell or to form coherent sentences, but that’s like saying that everyone who likes TV should be an actor, or anyone who plays video games should be creating them.  If everyone who enjoys reading decided to write a book, imagine how many crappy books we would have to wade through before we got to the good ones?  No offence to those of you out there who are currently trying to get published, I’m not trying to say you are bad writers, I’m just saying that the people out there like me should not take it up as a career path.  Let us stick to blogging, where we can upload whatever the hell we want for free and only our family members and friends have a minor responsibility to read skim pretend to have read what we’ve written.

-Annette

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