Writing Tip #7
“You write what you read.”
— Michael Weaver —
Finding your own voice is one of the most important things that you can do as a writer, and oftentimes quite difficult if you are first starting out. It took me some time to realize that if I was going to find my own "writing voice", then I needed to develop an awareness of what I was reading.
This epiphany came when I was doing research on symbolism and myth and found myself reading Albert Pike's book, Morals & Dogma of the Scottish Rite. I found Pike's book fascinating, especially since it was a compendium of comparative mythology and symbolism.
As fascinating as this book was, there was one small problem. I had been reading this book so often that my writing began to take on a similar tone, something that was particularly noticeable considering that this book was originally published in 1872.
Ever since then, I have been very careful what I read when I am in "writing mode", even going for long spurts of time without reading if need be. While I wouldn't recommend going "cold turkey" with the reading, if what you are writing is coming out stilted, terse, or just feels wrong take the time to examine the quality of the information you have been consuming.
Whether we realize it or not, each of us is affected by the company we keep - even when that "company" is the presence of books, articles, shows, and movies that we choose to view and read.