Notes from An Alien

~ Explorations In Reading, Writing, and Publishing ~

Why Writers Must Read In Order To Become Authors


A writer is someone who puts words down.

An author is not necessarily a writer who’s gotten published

I know, lots of folks think authors are published writers but words do have meanings and “author” comes from ‘a person who invents or causes something’ which comes from Old French autor, from Latin auctor, from augere ‘increase, originate, promote’.

So, there’s this person sitting there, all alone, putting words on paper or screen—a writer—and a strange thing begins to happen—the words begin to organize themselves into a meaningful story—the writer becomes an author—a process which usually happens many times during the intense effort to ‘increase, originate, promote’—often morphing from writer to author to writer to author

Also, this process of a writer being able to become an author is not “taught” in creative writing courses—just ask a few honest creative writing instructors

So how does a writer learn to transform themselves into an author?

Reading other authors, to trigger the writer>author process in themselves, then sitting and writing until they become an author enough times to complete a story.

Please read our previous post How To Read Like A Writer to learn about writer, author, creative writing instructor Francine Prose’s book—one great Read!

Some of you may be wanting to shout at me that there are authors out there who have courses that a bunch of other people are shouting about, saying “This is the way to learn to become an author!”

Please read Francine’s book. She gets very personal, telling you how every technique she’s taught has been overturned by examples from successful authors

There are many books I’ve read—some consciously forgotten—that have helped me become an author.

The ones that have helped me the most are by C. J. Cherryh and I’ve yet to read all of her 60+, award-winning books—more like a few books re-read 4 or 5 times over the years

So, even though an author interview won’t help you learn how to be an author, it could introduce you to an author whose works, carefully read, can help you teach yourself to consistently transform writing-time into author-ness.

So let me get out of the way and direct you to the previous post A Rave for My Favorite Author ~ C. J. Cherryh so you can listen her being interviewed on video :-)
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4 responses to “Why Writers Must Read In Order To Become Authors

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