I’m so happy to be taking part in the Speed of Life blog tour! Below, you’ll find a guest post written by the author, J.M. Kelly
I want to talk about how important it is to read if you want to write. I teach a lot of writing workshops at conferences, in schools, and freelance and the one thing I always tell my students is that if you are just starting out writing, you must read. A lot. And that reading time counts as writing time (at least in my book). I even go so far as to say if you’re frustrated, at a loss regarding where to start, or have very limited time, then don’t write at all, use your time to read everything in the genre you’re interested in writing. If you want to, you can create a reading program to help validate that you’re working toward your writing goal. When I did a self-designed two year reading program, I wrote out an index card for each book, just as a record. A growing stack of index cards made me feel very satisfied and accomplished, which is a feeling you shouldn’t underestimate.
Let’s say you have a full schedule. You’re a student, or a parent, or you have a full time job or all of the above. But you’ve managed to carve out one hour to write per day. Unless you dive in ready to write the second that one hour starts, unless you just can’t wait to get at it, unless you know what you want to write, then I think you should read. Stay with me here. I know that if all you do during your writing time is read other people’s stuff you’ll never finish that story. I get that. But what will happen from reading is you will start to absorb the elements of voice, structure, and storytelling. You will get an understanding of POV, of character, and of pacing. And you will identify trends, clichés, and things you may want to avoid in your own writing.
I tell my students to read until they just can’t stand not to write, and then go for it. For almost ten years I got lovely rejections from both editors and then agents, and it wasn’t until I spent 3 years reading nearly 400 contemporary, recently published YA novels that I was able to take my writing to a level that landed me an agent and a book contract. It’s true that I was one of the lucky ones because I had time to both write and read during those years, but if your time is limited, make sure you don’t cheat yourself out of time with books. You won’t be sorry.
About the Book
Title: SPEED OF LIFE
Author: J.M. Kelly
Pub. Date: October 11, 2016
Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers
Formats: Hardcover, eBook
Twins Crystal and Amber have the same goal: to be the first in their family to graduate high school and make something of their lives. When one gets pregnant during their junior year, they promise to raise the baby together. It’s not easy, but between their after-school jobs, they’re scraping by.
Crystal’s grades catch the attention of the new guidance counselor, who tells her about a college that offers a degree in automotive restoration, perfect for the car buff she is. When she secretly applies—and gets in—new opportunities threaten their once-certain plans, and Crystal must make a choice: follow her dreams or stay behind and honor the promise she made to her sister.
Joëlle Anthony is a writer and sometimes-actress who currently lives on a tiny island in British Columbia with her musician husband, Victor Anthony, and cat, Marley. Her debut novel, Restoring Harmony, was long listed for the American Library Association’s Best New Young Adult Fiction 2010, and chosen as the Feature Title for Cincinnati’s Teen on the Same Page Festival 2012. Her latest release, The Right & the Real also made ALA’s Best YA Fiction list (2012), both from Putnam. She enjoys teaching writing workshops to writers of all ages. Visit her on the web at www.joelleanthony.com Follow her on Twitter @joellewrites
3 winners will receive a finished copy of SPEED OF LIFE. US Only. Enter here!
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