How reading evokes improved writing (for me)

Every so often I read a story by a writer or author which awakens something inside of me. Usually, it begins right with the first sentence, or paragraph. It’s almost like I can hear the voice of this person while reading the words.

One such story is this one: Waking up from the American Dream

As I was reading I paid attention to the visuals forming in my head. I paid attention to the language, to the terminology, to the vocabulary chosen. I paid attention to the odd word that was thrown into a sentence that made me jump out, but then lean back in. It fit, even as it derailed for a moment. It provided the necessary emotion to the part in the story at that time.

I aspire to write like this some day.

I’ve been writing stories on the other blog more frequently lately than before this lockdown. Maybe because I literally have nothing else to do but sit and write. I mean, yes, there’s the usual domestic stuff, but none of it is pressing.

As I write the chapters, I take breaks. I walk away, only to come back to a different device to re-read the draft one more time before publishing.

These are blog-post length chapters, part of a multi-series story, not a whole book. Still, I want to ensure clear and concise writing style. I want to ensure error-free grammar and spelling.

Some days, I catch the typos in the other device. Some days, it takes an overnight break to see them. Other times, I publish and re-read in WordPress Reader and find myself horrified at the mistakes that still prevail.

This morning, I went back to the early segments of a series so far consisting of six chapters and found that I messed up the tenses. The story is written in the past tense, but every so often, I slipped into the present tense.

It annoyed me. It detracted my attention to the story.

Here’s the thing. That very tiny interruption of a simple typo or grammatical issue did something to the visuals in my head. Even though I was the author of the story, re-reading them a few months later and stumbling on those little mistakes caused me pause at a time when really, I did not feel like pausing.

I can only imagine that it is much worse for a reader who is not the author of this story.

Having said that, there are a few of you who sometimes email me referencing those tiny mistakes. The emails are very polite, almost hesitant to mention the oversights.

Please do not hesitate to bring up the mistakes. I appreciate you catching them and drawing my attention to them. You know who you are. Thank you.

13 thoughts on “How reading evokes improved writing (for me)

  1. Me too, any book I read I imagine the characters, place and so forth. I aspire to write a book or maybe a few… Why not!!! I hope you get there, keep the blog posts coming… Thanks for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I can’t read the American dream article as it’s asking me to subscribe, even tried googling. I think we judge ourselves too harshly. I never notice ANY mistakes in your writing Claudette – it seems flawless to me.

    Early days in my blog, a person I had shared it with said there were spelling mistakes in it, and because that was the ONLY comment she made, it really annoyed me…..not even an A for effort or for trying something new… I don’t mind people correcting my mistakes now, but if someone misspells a word or forgets one, it doesn’t bother me, if the intention of the sentence can be grasped. Except in bestseller published books, that does irritate me, as I think the copyeditor should have caught it.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Wow, I jumped right over to read the article that so captured your attention and sat there lost in her world for quite some time. Her narrative speaks volumes to the hardships and suffering immigrants have to carry alone. We push them aside because it’s difficult to make eye contact with injustice and when we finally do it is impossible to look away. Thanks for sharing this important story.

    You moved smoothly into writing, mistakes, editing, publishing. My sister is the one who sends me a text when I misspell a word and use the wrong tense but most of the time my readers just ignore them and I believe that comes from a place of kindness and respect. They are hesitant to call me out but I too appreciate the heads up. C

    Liked by 2 people

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