There was a time when I couldn’t get enough of reading about writing — blogs, books, magazines, graffiti, you name it, I read it. The blogs and web pages I’ve subscribed to over the last two years have changed as my needs have changed.
I have a host of helpful writer sites on my reader that, where I used to pore over each article, I now skim the titles reading them only occasionally. I also subscribe to book review sites, but even those I’ve taken to browsing.
Of the stack of writing books I own, there are some I return to time and again, but only as references. Sometimes I’ll revisit others and they’ll seem like part of my past, like thumbing through old college notebooks that hold less meaning than they once did.
I still do enjoy reading about the craft, but I think I’ gravitating more toward authors’ perspectives than foundational stuff. I like finding out how and why authors came to be.
I listen to a fair number of podcasts. I love author interviews, especially when they talk about the craft. If anything, those interviews remind me that the craft is always work and rarely mystical, making writing well seem much more attainable.
I suppose this change is fairly natural as a writer becomes more familiar and more comfortable with the basics. It doesn’t mean I’ve mastered those things — I’m thinking that’s a lifelong process — just that I’m more interested in exploring beyond them. From time to time, I know I’ll come back around and revisit those things with a slightly different perspective.
Of course, I’m always on the lookout for new books about writing, books that offer new perspectives that can expand how I think about writing. I’m not just talking mechanics and techniques, but also approaches and the cerebral and spiritual aspects of writing. Also, I try to read fiction that will stretch my mind as well. There’s tons of great stuff out there that will serve as better inspiration than any book about writing can.
Then there’s also the act of writing. For me it’s the best way to learn. I can read all I want, but if I have no experience to which I can relate what I’m reading, what’s the point. Writing is also the most gratifying method of learning.
How about you? What’s your passion and what do you do to keep on learning?