Art by Mladen Penev
I have followed your blog and writing for a while now and you've given me lots of advice and insight into my own. I would like to embark on a writing career, but I have been constantly beset by the same niggling worry: how I didn't really read much as a child. I pretty much only started "properly" reading in my twenties and, it may come completely from a place of insecurity and doubt, but I was wondering if it would come to affect my writing, i.e. if I will ever be as good as someone who has spent their entire lives immersed in books. Do you think I am just battling insecurity, or do my silly brain thoughts have a point?
First of all, I'm not an expert in this (nor do I think anyone of us writers is). Everything I've done so far with my own writing I've done based on my gut feeling. And my gut feeling told me to look to the great ones, and the great ones usually talk about their reading habits or researching or whatever after they've started writing, not before (and if they do talk about their befores, they're vastly different). And all the great ones happen to say that reading is crucial to writing, and I agree with this as I've experienced it myself. Yes, many writers have spent their childhoods with their noses in books. But just as many haven't.
Does this mean you HAVE to be well-read to be good at writing?