Words to Live By

“If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have the time (or the tools) to write. Simple as that.”

—Stephen King

This little tidbit was posted to my Facebook page by The Writer’s Circle, a group I found at random, and I’d have to say I’m living proof of that. I haven’t even been able to make a post here on my blog for the last two weeks. Finals are coming up, though, and actual homework is slowing down, so I’ve been able to do a little more reading than I have for the past four months or so.

And that makes me feel more like writing.

Not just blog posts, either, I’m hoping. My Lyle Villines prequel is gathering electronic dust on my computer, and I don’t like that. But ideas have been coming to me a bit more here recently, and I hope it’s a trend that’ll last.

Mr. King is right, though. Reading is like fuel for writers. We get our inspiration from it. Sometimes we get whole ideas from it, situations we can put in our stories. I can’t count the number of times I’ve seen what I call throwaway lines in other writer’s novels that I decide need more attention. I’ve rarely actually fleshed one out, at least in writing, but they’re good exercise for your imagination muscles. Like going to the gym, only it’s a mental thing.

I know that’s been a big part of my problem lately. I’ve had to devote so much time to schoolwork (and I’ve still got a lot I need to devote with no less than three class projects) that I’ve not had much time for recreational reading—everything’s been geared toward getting homework of some kind done.

That means my imagination engine’s been running on fumes and not doing a very good job of feeding me material. I don’t blame it. It’s not its fault I haven’t had time to write or read. But I’m going to school to put food on the table and all that. We all have to make choices in life, and I have to be practical and say I’m not likely to make a living from my writing any time soon.

Besides, having a skill to fall back on—in my case, networking and web programming—is a wise choice, in my opinion. Very few writers manage to be full-time writers, supporting themselves with their wordsmithing.

So take Mr. King’s words and put them up in your writing space or on your fridge or somewhere that you’ll see them, because they’re words of wisdom and it doesn’t hurt to be reminded of them from time to time.

Read so you can write.

Write so you can enjoy life.




One thought on “Words to Live By

  1. rgayer55

    I knocked out “Avalanche” by Pat McManus last Thursday and Friday. It was the first novel I’ve completed in a while. I’m mostly been enjoying Dave Barry and other compilations of short humor essays. I agree that reading does motivate us to write. Nice post, Gil.


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