“There is no royal path to good writing; and such paths as exist do not lead through neat critical gardens, various as they are, but through the jungles of self, the world, and of craft.” – Jessamyn West, Saturday Review, Sept. 21, 1957.
So many people are writing today – perhaps there are more writers than readers, as I read recently in someone else’s tweet. As an independent writer, I hope it only feels that way.
Social media, in all of its varying forms, is the “neat critical garden” of our time. We sit in these gardens and console ourselves and our friends as we moan about the lack of readers. Yet all great writers are great readers.
Reading a book sends me into the “jungles of self, the world, and of craft.”
opens my mind, expands my horizons, and brightens my world. How many of us were first inspired to write by something we had read? Yet once we’ve written a book, many of us stop reading and instead spend all of our time in the critical gardens of the internet, trying to convince others to read our books. Reading
If you are an indie writer, I challenge you to buy and read a book by another indie writer – you can find some real gems at Smashwords.com. Look around, take some samples, find something that speaks to you. When you finish the book, write a review for the author. If you blog, post the review on your blog, too. When you send out a positive message on behalf of someone else, you’ll be pleasantly surprised by what comes back to you. I, for one, found a publisher.