Writing for the Love of Writing by Gary Gauthier

Thoughts on Feeding Quality Material to a Voracious Muse

I have many friends who are artists, painters for the most part. For them, art seems to be a way of life. They sketch, draw and paint because it is second nature and they love what they do. It seems as though there is nothing else they would rather be doing.

Painting Woman Reading

Ivan Olinsky (1878 - 1962)

Many writers also love what they do. No one is paying us for all the blog posts we write. For many of us, the reward is the opportunity to share our ideas and talents and to simply belong to our wonderful community of fellow writers. As an added benefit, we also build a following and hope folks remember us.

Reading Is Part of the Job Description
One of the ways that writers develop their voice, prod their imagination and become more agile with language is to read, read again, and then read some more. One of my recent Life List commitments is to read two contemporary novels a month. So far, I’ve been keeping up and right now, I’m ahead of schedule.

My ongoing search to find worthwhile books to read inspired this blog post.

Choice Is a Luxury
I am mostly interested in mysteries and thrillers and my Ipad is filling up with them. Just recently, I stocked my electronic library with an additional ten new titles that warrant a second look. Many of them, I will end up reading sooner or later.

The Value of a Good Read
An important point is the cost of these books and how I find them. I use a very simple method and pay nothing for the books. I find new titles by searching twitter approximately three times a week for “free mystery” and “free thriller.” Among a handful of twitter results, I choose books on Amazon with four and five-star ratings that have well-written and convincing reviews.

During the past two months, I read two novels that are of very high literary quality and two others that were excellent and enjoyable reads. If this experience is any indication, I’ll be able to keep reading quality novels indefinitely and at no charge.

What This Means for Novelists
What does a proliferation of high-quality, free ebooks mean for authors who aspire to write fiction for a living? In my opinion it means you have to be talented and prolific.

Most of the recently-minted, “famous” authors we read about published at least ten books before they achieved their fame. If you are serious about writing for a living, at some point in your career, you may have to publish one or more books a year. You can also get lucky. The book you are working on can become a best-seller that lands you a movie deal. While this is great if it happens, this is not a plan you can take to the bank.

I Don’t Run Into Low-Quality Ebooks
Another observation of mine over this test period is that I didn’t encounter the “lots-of-bad-ebooks-out-there” experience that I keep reading about. Don’t get me wrong, I know they’re out there. The point is: I don’t run into them.

Here is a thought exercise. Do you constantly run into websites and blogs in which you have little or no interest, sites that feature low quality content filled with grammatical errors? Chances are, you solved that problem a long time ago. You’d probably have to pause for a moment if you had to find such a site on short notice.

If you find yourself investing too much time reading bad-quality ebooks, consider modifying how you decide which ones to read.

What’s your reading regimen like? How do you choose which books to read?

Gary GauthierGary Gauthier is working on his first novel, a crime thriller set in New Orleans just before Hurricane Katrina’s landfall. In real life, he works for a small publishing company no one’s ever heard of and that publishes books no one reads.

His blog, Literary Snippets, gives him an opportunity to express and share his appreciation for art and literature. He occasionally posts articles as well. Some of his favorite writers are Thomas Hardy, Charles Dickens, George Eliot, Nathaniel Hawthorne and Edgar Allan Poe. But this changes from time to time. Stay tuned! Follow him on Twitter, Facebook, and Google Plus.


13 responses to “Writing for the Love of Writing by Gary Gauthier

  1. Pingback: Writing for the Love of Writing | Gary Gauthier

  2. I’ll admit it – now that I have a Kindle, I search for free. I am reading a lot of the classics I’ve never read. I read about five or six books a month. I start several dozen a month, reading at least the first chapter – if the story is boring or the characters flat, I hit delete. I get a lot of direction on which books to choose by trusted friends and writers.

    • Thanks for visiting, Karen. I usually form my opinion to keep reading in the first chapter and by the second, I’m either committed or bail out. I definitely can’t compete with you on the volume of reading.

  3. Hey Gary,

    Great plan to look for the freebies. I read books by author that I already love, or by recommendation/popularity. A good cover backed up by a tantalizing blurb also gets my attention. Result: lots of books on my shelf, unread.

    I joined a reading challenge this year, (Roof Beam Reader,http://bit.ly/vLXKBO). Each of the 12 books had to have been on my shelf at least a year. I had to post what I would read ahead of time, so that made me really think about what I would read. (To see my list, http://bit.ly/J2rtdk).

    My reading has really declined the last 2 years, in relation to the increase in time spent writing, so 12 didn’t seem enough of a challenge. I pledged to read 24 books on Goodreads this year, my 12 are included in that count, but the remaining 12 are being chosen willy nilly.

  4. Hi Sherry, I will visit you on Goodreads to see what you’re up to. I agree with you that some authors do seem to be able to work their magic on a consistent basis.

  5. Hi Gary! I find books to read in various places…friends who write, free kindle books (There I look for my favorite genres and read the blurbs. Haven’t been disappointed yet.), and on Goodreads. I am also in the reading challenge on Goodreads for 36 books this year and am ahead of schedule. Goodreads offers recommendations based on what you have read before and groups that you can join sometimes offer recommendations. I have read a few books with many typos or too many metaphors. It’s distracting, but not so much that I felt the need to stop reading. The books had good structure and a great story. I have almost 50 books on my Kindle to be read and another 50 on my shelves at home to be read…and I keep accumulating more! All these books waiting in the wings makes me feel relaxed because I’m never without something good to get lost in.

  6. Sounds like you have your hands full, Marcia. If I had ready access to as many books as you do, I’d probably want to browse all of them and end up distracted. I will look for you on Goodreads!

  7. Gary, I’m really pumped about this blog post because you stated at the milestone party how you wanted to read more thrillers as a thriller writer! I’m so proud of you for carving out time to do this and bonus points for making social media time into research time too! You always amaze me at how you can dive into a goal and immediately succeed at it.

    Do share some of the titles you’ve loved! But I’ll watch for you on Goodreads too!

  8. I am sadly lacking in the reading area. I try to read, but I just don’t have time to do it nearly as much as I’d like. I’m hoping once May is over, and I’ve got my novel submitted and school is out, I’ll be a reading fiend! I have noticed how much easier it is to write when I read. The words just flow better.

  9. I’m like you Lara, I get many writing ideas from doing fresh reading. Good luck wrapping up your WIP. The good news is: there’s only a few more weeks left til the end of the school year.

  10. I’m definitely lured in by free e-books but I’m also willing to buy e-books from indie authors I’ve gotten to know on Twitter and in the blogosphere. At the moment, my goal is to read two books a month which is a pretty tiny goal considering what I used to read. But with the writing and the blogging I don’t have as much time to read as I used to. My Kindle is definitely filling up fast though.

    • Sonia, I certainly agree that it’s a good idea to support the writers that we get to know. It’s also great to have your own personal library with tons of stuff to read at a moment’s notice.

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