As part of my day job, I’ve been writing stories about our alumni who have gone on to become writers, editors, authors, reporters, journalists or anything remotely related to those terms. When I asked them all to provide a piece of advice for those who would like to become a writer, editor, author, reporter, journalist or anything related to that term, the answer was overwhelmingly “read good writers.”
Now, I loosely consider myself a writer. I mean, I have a degree in journalism so I guess I at least paid for it. Or my parents did (thanks Mom and Dad). But I also write things. And it fits nicely on the short line most places give you next to the occupation field. At least a lot nicer than, web content manager or database manager/web manager, whatever my title should happen to be today. Plus, I sort of also consider myself a maid, cook, chauffeur and entertainer—of the children’s variety. I also moonlight as a librarian, interpretive reader and late-night binkie-finder. Am I supposed to list all of those things too?
What I’m getting at is that I’m a writer, but I have a lot to learn from these professionals, these people who are doing exactly what they are meant to do. So, I should probably read some good writers. But, isn’t that subjective. Because I just finished up Tina Fey’s “Bossypants” and I’ve got to say, that was some darn good writing. And anything by Emily Giffin is probably “the next great American novel” in my book. And really, I learn a lot from these books. Tina Fey’s view on time management in the face for a three-year-old’s birthday party, Oprah on “30 Rock” and playing Sarah Palin for the first time ever on “Saturday Night Live,” all in the same week left me feeling like half a woman. I would hope to handle it all with the heart the size of a raisin. At least she handled it. I probably would have sobbed a few times and had several adult beverages to make it through the week.
But if they think I should be reading “Pride and Prejudice” or something else with a very formal name, then I have failed. I’ll just shrug my shoulders and go “write” for TMZ or something. I can’t do any better than that. I don’t get the joy out of exploring “the classics” the way I do the funny, creative, inventive and very modern (read: chick lit) books that cover my night stand.
And isn’t that what reading is all about? Isn’t that why you are reading this blog? For entertainment? I mean, you’ve just wasted precious minutes of your life reading about how I prefer Tina Fey’s new book over “The Great Gatsby” or “To Kill a Mockingbird.” But you had a good time reading it right?
That proves my point.
Read what you like, because it will only make you a better writer. Cook what you like, because it will only make you a better chef. Watch the kind of movies you like, because it will only make you a better producer. Travel to the places you love, because it will only make you a better explorer. Life is too short to waste on the thinks you dislike, except this blog. If you don’t like it once, maybe try again. Sometimes I have off days.