the writer




To Read or Not To Read about Writing, That Is the Question
by Vivian Gilbert Zabel

With all the books and articles published about how to write, one wonders why every want-to-be-author isn't published. Some people think the profusion of reading material dealing with how and why to write is no more than money makers for the authors. Others believe that the articles and books boost one's ability to be a better writer.

In his own book on writing, Novelist Abresch (Bloody Bonsai), who has been writing fiction for 30 years, dismisses most writing manuals as being too hard to read. Connie C. Epstein, The Art of Writing for Children states, "One way to find your place among the endless dichotomies of purpose, process, and method that exist in the minds of writers is to read the many clashing viewpoints out there about how, and why, to write. Read them, and form your own opinions. The point is not just to grow a manuscript. You want to grow yourself as a writer."

No article or multiple chapters contain a shortcut to becoming a best-selling author. No magic pills hide within pages of books or magazines. However, Ms. Epstein's opinion provides good advice. Read and compare; then form our own opinions. Use what we read as a starting point for projects or to "kick-start" ourselves when we seem mired in laziness or lack of motivation.

Three magazines I read provide excellent articles, usually from authors who have been successful in their areas, that provide me with help to improve my writing, to promote it, to prod me from the pit of "I can't do this" pity. I consider the subscriptions to The Writer, Writer's Digest, and ByLines money well spent. Whether I am writing poetry, short stories, novels, or articles, reading about writing secrets, using tricks in poetry, how others succeeded, writing a tight, well-written synopsis - all give me ideas that I can try.

Other items may be written in such a complicated manner to cause me to wonder if the author knows how to use English. I close those items without finishing as I wonder how the publishers can pay for something so useless.

One thing I have definitely learned from reading about writing: Reading without writing is a waste of my time. If I am serious about writing, I must put ideas, thoughts, plots characters, and all other components needed into words on paper or on screen. Besides, all those items about writing make good research sources when I write about writing.

About the Author

Vivian Gilbert Zabel taught English, composition, and creative writing for twenty-five years, honing her skills as she studied and taught. She is an author on, a site for Writers, and her portfolio is http://www.Writing.Com/authors/vzabel. Her books, Hidden Lies and Other Stories and Walking the Earth, can be found through Barnes and Noble or

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