Thursday, December 6, 2012

Really Bad Writing Advice: 5 Top Reasons You Shouldn't Read Books

I have just finished reading an extremely good book.  Well-written, poignant, moving. 

I was horrified!

I’m not actually going to tell you what book it was, out of concern that you’ll make the same mistake I did.  But suffice to say, as I made my way to the last page and gently closed the cover, it hit me, Big Epiphany: for writers, reading books, particularly good books, and without question outstanding books, is a terrible mistake.

Here’s why:

1.) When you are reading, you aren’t soaking up life experience or doing your butt-in-chair writing thing.  Everybody knows that all you need to create your stunning opus is life experience, a butt, and a chair.

2.) Really good children’s books are short, sweet, and rip your heart out.  Having your heart ripped out can distract you from your mission, and also get blood on your desk.

3.) Really good books are no doubt better than your struggling manuscript which, if you’re me, could remain in the shitty first draft phase for years.  Your book will no doubt never ever be as good as the really good book, no matter how long you keep your butt in that chair.  This realization has been known to propel writers out of their chairs and to the refrigerator for some highly comforting chocolate chip ice cream.  Ergo, really good books are fattening.

4.) Those fiends over at Goodreads no doubt liked the really good book better than they liked your book.  Reminding you that life is unfair, and depressing you so much that it becomes challenging to form sentences.  It is also possible that those fiends over at Goodreads hated the really good book, also reminding you that life is unfair, the reading public is dopey, and depressing you so much that it becomes challenging to form sentences.

5.) Paper cuts.  The really good book can give you paper cuts.  Also, if you spend your time reading really good books, you will be so depressed, bloody, and fat that you will never finish writing your book, and therefore your book will never give anybody paper cuts.  There is some form of irony in there somewhere.


  1. Funny.
    I actually stop reading, good or not so books, when I'm about to write a first draft. That's as to not channel someone else's writing voice...

    1. Yeah, there are some stages of writing when I can't read in the same genre either. I think it's about the voice, but it might just be that I get to a point where I have to be completely obsessed or the whole thing won't work.