Discussion #23: Influence

Thanks one and all for sharing your reading experience. This week’s topic is a step away from that. How has your reading influenced your writing? I firmly believe that most writers write because they were first readers. Reading is a hard habit to break, and why would you want to do such a thing?

Much of my sense of writing has to do with clarity, connecting the dots and finding some form of resolution, or completion. Even Science Fiction and Fantasy has to make some sort of sense, use the tension of storyline and plot, or it wouldn’t be read at all.

As I have already stated in an earlier discussion, writing creates a constant learning process, as far as I am concerned. My reading was also aimed toward that desire to learn. So, I have a tendency to seek out authors who tackle an issue and seek its solution on some level. Mystery and suspense are hard wired to those realities, as is most good writing.

When I sit to write a poem, I seldom have much more than a vague impression of topic in mind. The writing becomes my way of connecting the dots, and more often than that, I stumble on surprises while engaged in that process. I like a well-rounded ending, one that at least takes a stab at some form of conclusion. That has become a very important aspect of my own writing process as well.

I’ve learned a great deal from reading, and not just about writing. What and where do you find your reading influencing your writing?

The mic is open:

PS Mike, no one gets demerits here. You may speak (write) for however long you desire. That goes for everyone.


About 1sojournal

Loves words and language. Dances on paper to her own inner music. Loves to share and keeps several blogs to facilitate that. They can be found here: http://1sojournal.wordpress.com/ http://soulsmusic.wordpress.com/ http://claudetteellinger.wordpress.com/
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7 Responses to Discussion #23: Influence

  1. jinksy says:

    One all encompassing result of a lifetime of reading, is a love of words, as their sounds roll off the tongue, so I guess it’s the connection with the ears that is my legacy from books!

  2. Mike Patrick says:

    Well, reading certainly increased my vocabulary. My reading vocabulary has far outstripped my speaking vocabulary. Along with vocabulary came the recognition of words correctly put together. My problem is in not being able to use that recognition on my own writing.

    Reading also made me comfortable in writing dialog—something rarely seen in poems. Funny how that works.

    Reading of poetry made me appreciate the beauty of words: their appearance, their sound and their power. There is great power in words. When poetry is properly written, it moves me—it becomes a sensory experience far beyond the simple understanding of the words. Reading that type of poetry makes me want to write it. It is fun to manipulate, massage and mangle words trying to pull the strength out of them—make them move others. When that magic happens, it is the most wonderful feeling in the world. Maybe the pen is mightier than the sword.

  3. margo roby says:

    Okay, I can’t say it better than Mike. That is lovely, Mike. The only thing I will add is reading provided me with worlds, and worlds within worlds, allowed me to see that if the words could create worlds in my mind, then maybe I could create worlds with words, too.

    And the pen is mightier than the sword thing. Think about the Magna Carta, our Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. They are just words…but words are astonishing.


  4. Pingback: Are We There Yet? The Friday Freeforall « Margo Roby: Wordgathering

  5. irene says:

    I just wanted to say, reading definitely influenced my writing. It gives me ideas. Some of these ideas become the ideas behind the poems I write. In that sense, reading is the fuel for my writing. I mean, apart from real-life experiences, which is a form of journaling. But it would be foolish to say 1+1=2. Because writing doesn’t work like that. It’s more a fusion of everything and what’s reflected in writing isn’t just a self-reflection. It should have universal resonances for everyone. Otherwise it’s self-indulgence, and that, we all know, is *bad*.

    Thanks Elizabeth, for your writing group discussion. Hope you get back to poeming soon.

    • Elizabeth says:


      it just so happens that I wrote something that actually looks like a poem, before reading this. Will let it set for a while and maybe even post it, eventually. Stranger things have been known to happen. Thanks for your caring and concern, it is deeply appreciated,


  6. pmwanken says:

    OK…I’m coming late to this discussion and there have already been some great things written so I’ll just add my agreement:

    With Mike…reading has expanded my vocabulary. One needs to know words to be able to use words.

    And I will agree with margo on the fact that reading opened up worlds…growing up on a farm in the middle of Iowa, I read about places far outside my sights. Which made me want to explore those sights.

    Those experiences (as well as the ideas, as Irened mentioned) coupled with knowing words…that becomes the basis upon which I write. Practice and continued reading (those poems of which Mike speaks: the ones that move me) continue to influence who I rearrange words to tell the next story.

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