Apr 7, 2009

Writers Read

by Valerie Ipson

"Once the disease of reading has laid hold upon the system it weakens it so that it falls an easy prey to that other scourge which dwells in the inkpot and festers in the quill. The wretch takes to writing." ---Virginia Woolf.

I daresay that most all writers began as voracious readers. I know I've lived a wonderful fictional life through the Bobbsey Twins, Beezus and Ramona, Encyclopedia Brown, and Nancy Drew all the way to more recent adventures with lady's maid, Dashti, of Book of a Thousand Days, heroine Helene de Laurant, compliments of Joyce DiPastena's Loyalty's Web, and a mouse who shares his story in The Tales of Despereaux.

It was the reading of a book that inspired me to begin writing in a journal at the age of 13, something I did almost daily for over twenty years. I was so moved by the story that I had to express my emotions, so that became my very first entry. "Peter is such a beautiful name..." I wrote--that was the name of the heroine's true love. It's not that great a leap, then, to assume that reading inspired me to move from journal entries to writing fiction. Whether we read and say, I can write better than that, or we read and think, I want to write like that, reading moves us and inspires us.

From the words of great poets and prophets to the words found in books of scripture or great literature (or books just plain fun to read) to the words spoken by my mother at her knee..all these words have value to me and have set me on this amazing journey called WRITING.


  1. Maybe that's why I always struggle to decide what I want to write about - I love so many different genres.

    I love biographies, reference, fantasy, lds nonfiction, lds fiction, sci-fi, historical fiction, family histories, YA fiction, and nonfiction books on various topics...

    Does anyone else have this problem? What do you write about when your reading tendencies are so scattered?

    - Chas

  2. You hit the nail on the head Chas not only do I like many different kinds of books I also have a tendancy to think oh I could never write fiction...I'm doomed to be a technical writer. Maybe the answer is what a lot of writers do...they write in different genres under different names.

  3. I think I'd rather just dream about writing, or get my thrills by critiquing others. Writing is hard work, a thing I've always wanted to merely skirt around. As to genre, well, my family is pushing me to write my own memoirs first, and I'm an obedient mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother, so that's what my slowly progressing WIP is about. At least I don't have to make up the plot nor the characters.

    I like the Virginia Woolf quote. How true. Thanks. 'Scratch an English teacher, and you'll find a longing to write' is also a truism. Since I'm a bit of both reader and English teacher, what else can I be, but infected?

  4. Your post helped me realize I've been sick for a long time, Valerie. I'm not sure if writing cures the illness, either, or just medicates!


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