Nourish the Writer
by Gloria T. Delamar
LEARN THE CRAFT:
Read books about writing; take writing workshops at community and adult
schools; go to a writers' conference; participate in a writers' critique
PUT A TRIANGULAR APPROACH ON YOUR ARSENAL:
If your main interest is in fiction, add nonfiction and poetry workshops.
If your main interest is in nonfiction, add poetry and fiction workshops.
If your main interest is in poetry, add fiction and nonfiction workshops.
There's a lot to be learned by being well-grounded in the entire spectrum
of writing; by being diverse, you can bring a subtle and surprising overlap
of skills to your work. Such diversity gives greater depth to your thinking.
READ IN YOUR FIELD OF INTEREST:
Read critically; analyze the information.
Read outside Your Field of Interest:
Don't get bogged down in reading only certain categories; you will grow
as a writer (and as a person) if you open your mind to writings in disparate
arenas. On another level, have fun in giving in to your "off-beat reading
attacks." It's okay to binge--and remember that though there may be no
calories gained, everything you read feeds into the well of the writing
GET OFF YOUR SNOB HORSE:
In writing, learn enough about the varying disciplines so that you
can appreciate a job-well-done in whatever writing field.
In reading from the bestseller list, some books you'll embrace immediately.
But with one you initially rejected or scoffed at, when it's been on the
list over a year, you might read it to see what made the editor buy it,
the publisher publish it, and readers buy it in volume. Analyze the bestseller
WATCH TELEVISION AS A COHORT:
Television is a window on the world of yesterday, today, and tomorrow.
Anytime you hear someone give a blanket denunciation of television, you
know you're listening to a closed mind. For the writer, it offers a wealth
of approaches to the craft, information on numerous issues and subjects,
exposure to treatments of wonderful classics, a look at new skills and
techniques, and an impetus to develop your own ideas into the written form.
Watch programs critically.
BROADEN YOUR INTEREST TO ALL THE WRITTEN FORMS:
Besides reading books and magazines and watching television, feed your
writer's mind by attending movies and plays (both professional and amateur),
and by attending readings of prose and/or poetry. Listen to old radio shows
to see how they captured listeners with the story, the performances, and
Despite the legendary and frequently apocryphal tales of writers who
accomplished their works while under the influence of alcohol or drugs,
a far greater number did and do their work while in full control of their
A small number of writers have managed to complete good work while
wallowing in depression or self-deprecation. Most know that their minds
need to be healthy and functioning if they are to bring all their skill
to the work. "Laughter is good medicine" is more than a cliche. Read comedies,
watch comedies. Smile, chuckle, laugh.
- © Gloria T. Delamar