Great Writers Are Great Readers… and Listeners

Over the past 3 years with Pointless Overthinking, I’ve loved getting to know our community of bloggers and blog-lovers. I’m surrounded by inspiration and aspire to give back even a fraction of the amount of motivation I’ve received.

Through this community, I connected to a podcast created for writers that explores topics of the writer’s journey such as: the fear of failure, rejection, trusting the journey, and more. It will debut on May 4th and I will definitely be tuning in.

I happened to be one of the writers (albeit, a self-proclaimed writer) interviewed to share any tricks of the trade. I’ll share a preview of my interview with you here, in hopes to build some excitement for the release of The Mindful Writer podcast.

Q1. You write poetry as E.L. Jayne and are a part of Pointless Overthinking, a blog about understanding the world we live in. How did you come to be a part of Pointless Overthinking?

I just finished a teaching job in Italy and wanted to make it a priority to make a meaningful interactions each day with someone on my blog.

The first day of this practice, I commented on @troyheadrick2015’s post, and he answered something like, “Thanks for your response, I can see you’re a critical thinker by nature and we’re looking for more people like you to join our team. If you’re interested please feel free to email me.” I sent him 3 articles I wrote: “I’ve studied abroad 3 times and I’ve learned nothing,” also, “American Students Abroad: Culturally Savvy or Road to Tragedy,” and “The Unattainable Open Mind.” We would see how the readership took to them, and go from there. Luckily, it went well. I became an author with my own credentials soon thereafter.

Q2. How do you find time to write? What advice or words of wisdom can you share with listeners who are having a hard time making time to write?

Since I’m a philosophy fan, I’ll quote what Nietzsche said about writing. He said, ‘If all it takes to be a writer is to put words on paper, then everyone is a writer. But those who devote themselves to the craft, who write everyday, they are writers.’ Bottom line, find some time in each day to write.

Further, something I didn’t touch on during the podcast episode, is my opinion that great writers are also great readers. If you want to be a great writer, read as many books as you can. Find an author’s whose style you love and make it your own.

Immerse yourself in the culture of book-writing and book-reading. If you want to be an author, try to understand the market and what readers like. Unless you have a unicorn of a book idea—then go for it.

I certainly feel the more I read, the more I am inspired to write my own stuff again. Whenever I’m feeling lackluster inspiration, I pickup my current book and read until I can get back into that metaphysical flow of things.

At Pointless Overthinking, we have a team of 13 talented writers who lead double lives as professors, pilots, playwrights, and life coaches, from Hong Kong, Kenya, Turkey, and more. I’m truly grateful to write alongside such inspirational, intelligent, and open minded people. We are all here to connect with our readers and make this world a little less lonely of a place.

Would you also say that great writers are great readers? I’d love to hear your thoughts on this.

E.L. Jayne’s poetry blog can be found here.

21 thoughts on “Great Writers Are Great Readers… and Listeners

  1. Hi Ellen,

    Thank you for sharing another wonderful post, and more about you. What great advice that you shared!

    I would say that great writers are most likely great readers, yes. We seem naturally drawn to ideas and want to express ourself, and hopefully move, educate, or enterain other readers.

    One of the best pieces of advice that I ever read is that most writers, or would-be writers are waiting for that perfect first page or first chapter. In the old days, that most likely would have meant that a lot of typed sheets ended up in the garbage bin, and that the project didn’t truly move. The advice was to set that belief aside and just write–let the words flow, and continue to add to them each and every day. Also, “leave something in the well,” was important advice–to leave the plot at a place where you could pick up the flow the following day.

    Thanks again for a wonderful post!

    1. Thank you for sharing some of your advice in return. I quite like the idea to “leave something in the well.” Almost like the urge of a cliffhanger at the end of a chapter to urge you to return. I am in the process of writing a novel and I write out each scene as they become clear to me, regardless of the chronological order.

      I also think it’s important for writers to know what’s out there in terms of the market. Not that we strive to conform ourselves to what’s a hot topic on the scene currently, but more so to research and understand what readers are liking nowadays. It seems almost conceited to me to publish a book without having a basic understanding of the current environment. I guess that’s another reason why I try to read the bestselling books of the year, and am always trying to see as many different writer’s styles as I can while I’m developing my style and tone.

      Thanks for one of your insightful comments again!

      1. Hi Ellen,

        You’re very welcome about the advice; it’s worked for me for many years.

        Thank you for sharing your advice, too!

  2. Truer words were never spoken. I have been struggling with writing lately. I couldn’t quite place a finger on the ‘why?’ until I read this post. I haven’t been reading as often I would like! Bingo! Guess who’s about to go back to reading immediately after posting this comment 😉.

    1. Hey Billy, so great to hear from you! Yes, sometimes we can’t put our finger on the “why” as to why we haven’t been writing. I’ve been trying to ignore my excuses as to why I don’t write every day, and reading more recently has helped me. I loved reading your book reviews, you should get back to posting those again 🙂

  3. I definitely agree on that. The more you read, the more you feel like writing. And I think that your writing definitely improves thanks to reading. Well said, Ellen!

  4. This is again, another blockbuster full of advice that I plan to emulate. I for one struggle with OCD and with that comes the inability to let other things go until they are perfect and in turn leaves me too exhausted to write or the inability to form the words I want in my writing. I also do this in my writing where I edit as I write. These are topics I would like to see discussed. How to free yourself from your life obligations and write. The constant doubt, and belief I am not as great as other writers because I don’t hold the background others do. I love reading and when the day comes to an end it is my most favorite thing to do. It frees me per say. Thank you for your invite. Grear post!

  5. I’ve been taught that to be a writer we actually have to read a lot, because occasionally we need to actually know what we are writing about

    But I guess sometimes we can just write about anything on a whim, based on how we feel, that may not require reading that much, but still there’s just so much we can write about without reading and hearing about stuff

  6. I want to add that:
    The writers are also great observers. Seeing the invisible thread that goes through the things and then weaving with it their own creations🙂

  7. I’ve been writing as soon as I learned to write, which for me took longer than most. The release I found as an elementary student turned into in journals, which turned into blogs as an adult, and has. Ow turned into a book I’m not sure what to do with yet. I believe finding time to write daily is important. For me I feel I have to write daily or I’ll explode. I’ve recently learned, reading other works from other writers is inspiring and does help inspire and give you a new perspective or help develop more creativity in the way you write.

    Thanks for sharing your insight to writing!

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