Contributions of Reading

“When the student is ready, the teacher will appear”

-Buddhist proverb

This is something I believe and have seen happen in my life too many times to discount. The teacher appears in many guises – a person, an experience, something on the internet, in a book, in the overheard tidbit of a conversation. It’s the moment when we’re receptive to the lesson that matters.

I have a habit of keeping draft versions of posts on things I want to talk about later so a.) I don’t forget, and b.) when I can’t figure out what to write about, I have no excuse. About a month ago, I dropped this one into the stack of drafts and said “I’ll work on that one ‘later.'” I had big ideas and lofty things I wanted to say and I planned on relating it back to the Big Ones and their masterpieces and the aspirations I have compared to how I was using them. (By the way, if you’re laughing, you’re in good company. I was giggling at myself when I thought back to my plans and read over my notes highlighting the key points I wanted to make. The only thing I kept was the title.)

So life intrudes, and I don’t think much about my stack of drafts; I just proceed with doing what I do. Then, the other day, I was standing in line at the grocery store planning out my next blog piece and looking for a little inspiration, I decided to run through my RSS feed. Lo and behold, I came across this gem and I smiled. For me, I received a two part lesson.

  • First: Simplicity is best. Say it without dressing it up.
  • Second: You can’t be a snob who eschews what you label “crap” if you want to be among those you admire.

The line from that post that has stuck with me over the past couple of days is demonstrative of the first lesson. I couldn’t say it better than this and I won’t try….

One of these phrases for the developing writer is You are what you eat. By this I’m not talking about a literal diet, of course, but a literary one. The choices a writer makes in terms of the types of writing he or she consumes has a drastic impact on the type of writer he or she will become.

source

Simply put, to be the best, you have to take in the best, but also, you have to take in enough of the worst to be able to identify the traps you could fall into and then prevent it. To be marketable, you have to know what sells, and to learn new things, you have to branch out into new territory.

I don’t have anything lofty to add, simplicity suffices here. I’m going back to my reading. This is one diet I can take in everything I can stand and the result is much needed craft skills and personal development.

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