Richard Bausch’s Advice on Reading Like a Writer

Most of us come to this work from having read so much, from the discovery that nothing else quite nourished us inwardly in quite the way the printed word did.  We couldn’t get enough.  We were and are rapacious readers.  Of everything.  We have a hunger to know everything that was ever written that is worth remembering, that, as Milton put it, future generations have not “willingly let die.”  Lately, in the age of the Internet and the blog, I have encountered a species of “writer” that came to it from deciding it might be a good thing to be able to call one’s self a writer.  I run into students who believe they can accomplish this by reading how-to books and manuals, as if the construction of a good story were no different than building a deck on the back of one’s house.  Good people who are misguided and in some cases duped by the industry around the how-to books.  Faulkner had the best advice: read read read.  Read even the bad ones.  And he wasn’t talking about how-to books.  And there’s Fitzgerald’s advise to Scotty: you should try to absorb six good authors a year.  Note the use of the word “absorb.”  Yes.  And my God, it’s thrilling all the time.  I just discovered Cezar Pavase.  Damn.  That same excitement I felt when I was sixteen and at the very beginning of it all and didn’t even know it.

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5 Responses to Richard Bausch’s Advice on Reading Like a Writer

  1. Nicole Dacanay says:

    Absolutely agree with this. Great readers are great writers!

  2. Great post dear! I agree that one of the best ways to become a writer is to READ and read a lot 🙂
    These how-to books are such a waste of time, money and energy that most of the people end up writing by the time they are done reading dozens of how-to books!

  3. amkuska says:

    We are indeed. 🙂

  4. His sentiments couldn’t be more apt 🙂 It’s amazing the amount of plagiarized trash that is quickly slapped up together and put out as books out there. Read, read and read some more.

  5. Netta says:

    Great post! Nothing else lately?

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