Can What We Read Hinder Our Own Writing?

I am well aware that what we read has an affect on us, whether good or bad.  I am also well aware that, because of this, it is important to be careful of what I read, and I have recently learned something else about what I read:

What I read affects my thoughts and ideas and can hinder my own writing.  You see, I was told about Bookbub several months ago.  For those of you who may not know what Bookbub is, it is a service that sends me a daily email with the daily ebook specials (under $10, and quite a few Free) available at Amazon and another online book seller or two, for that given day.  So, I downloaded a lot of the Free choices that sounded like the kinds of stories I like to read and would like to write.

What’s wrong with that, you may ask.  Well, here’s what’s wrong with that, at least for me.  I read several of the books and found some of them quite good, as far as a story line goes.  But, I also found that many of them had language included that I do not use nor do I prefer to read or hear, if I can help it.  A couple of them also had sexually explicit material, which I also prefer not to read.

The next thing I noticed, I hit a bump in the road with my writing.  I got stuck, unhappy with what I was currently working on and questioning if I was even attempting to write in the genre that I could write best.  I wrote a post on this on October 18, and that post also mentioned a book my son found for me at our library book sale:  Behind the Stories by Diane Eble, which I have since finished reading.

That book got me to thinking about what my real desire for my writing is, and that is, to write stories that will be pleasing to my heavenly father, and that will encourage my readers.  Many of the writers in that book also mentioned praying about each and every piece of writing they write, before and during the writing process.  They also mentioned studying writing, which I had done a long time ago, quite extensively, but hadn’t done recently.

So, where am I at in my writing journey now?  Well, as I said, I finished reading Behind the Stories.  After that I read a Christian fiction book based on the book of Job, The Faithful One, and during this whole process, I began to ask God to guide my writing; to give me an idea and help me to create a story from the idea.  I was beginning to get a little concerned because I wasn’t getting any ideas.

But I decided to keep working on my writing journey by studying writing and to continue to pray and wait.  Well, I am currently reading another ebook I downloaded for Free because of a Bookbub notification, (which, by the way, I no longer check daily and am much more careful about what I download), Short Story:  From First Draft to Final Product by Michael Milton (now $2.99), and the past few days I have been contemplating the story I had begun a couple of months ago with the intention of making it my first novel, so I believe that I will be continuing to work on this project, but I also had two brand new ideas early this morning, which I quickly wrote down.

I believe that God stopped my writing because I was reading the wrong things and they were affecting my thoughts and emotions, and when I began seeking His guidance and studying the craft to refresh my skills, He gave my writing back.  God is faithful as we are faithful and I am excited that I now have some ideas to work with and feel more confident about my writing again, and I believe I am starting to figure out what genre I write best.

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3 thoughts on “Can What We Read Hinder Our Own Writing?

  1. I can understand how what you read can affect what you write or if you write at all. For me, it seems that all writing stops when I start reading books on how to write. Somehow I lose my creativity and question my abilities. When I read enough for pleasure, which is something I’m falling short on right now, words for my own writing start spilling out.

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