Read Before You Write
I've read Stephen King's book On Writing, and it's pretty interesting. I think you could almost boil King's advice down to a Nike-esque “just do it”, but there's one nuance to what he suggests that definitely sticks with me. That to be a writer, you have to be a reader.
If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have the time (or the tools) to write. Simple as that.
– Stephen King
I certainly “have time” to read. But I also don't invest much time at all in it. I don't choose reading as a preferred activity. In fact, it took me almost two years to finish James S. A. Corey's Leviathan Wakes (book one of The Expanse novels). Most of that time was spent, of course, not reading. So according to King's logic, I can't be a writer.
I also think this extends to to other media. I write on this blog endlessly about my aspirations to write and produce original music. But do I spend enough time listening to new and original music (reading)? I certainly listen to plenty of music throughout the week, but most of it is stuff that I've heard before, put on in the background to help me get through a coding session.
I'm not sure I can, by force of will, make myself into someone who critically listens to tons and tons of music. It certainly seems like, when you read the biographies of most successful musicians, they are steeped heavily in the music of their times, the times before, and perhaps their “scene”.
It seems similar to the observation that the most intelligent among us are generally the most “intellectually curious”. But you can't really force the latter in order to make inroads on the former, can you?
Or maybe all of this is just a big excuse to not write music, or write blog posts, or write anything. Maybe I want an “out” so that I don't have to be creative, so that I don't constantly feel like I'm failing at my creative calling.
Am I nuts, am I going around in circles? As always I'm Travis Briggs, of travisbriggs.com fame. If you'd like to comment on this post you can do so on Mastodon (@firstname.lastname@example.org) or Twitter (@audiodude) or send me an email at email@example.com.