If you are a dedicated scribe, you’re always looking for ways to improve your writing.
The other day, for some reason (I wasn’t drunk or high on cocoa beans), I started thinking about the resources I use in my writing. I was sitting in front of the fire, wearing my red velour evening jacket, smoking a pipe and pondering the imponderables of life, as you do of a Sunday evening when Sherlock’s finished and your old man’s blaring La Traviata out at full crack from his Crossley 54 Radio.
And then I thought, hey, for a hobby, you know, writing’s pretty cheap. You don’t really need a whole lot of resources – a lap top, pen and paper, the love of a good therapist, drink.
Ah, I snort, quaffing another one of the Christmas Turkish Delights nobody else wanted and slurping the last of the Cranberry juice lifestyle coaches say is so good for you.
But what about all those books you’ve bought and read over the years?
And then it struck me, yes it did folks, like a great bolt delivered by Charles Dickens himself:
My most important writing tool is my Kindle.
There I’ve said it. Happy now people?
I decided last May to take the plunge and buy a Kindle and I have to admit that I was sceptical. The usual, old timers response to new technology I’m afraid: You can’t beat the weight/feel/smell/taste of a real book.
This I quickly found to be bollocks.
An e-reader is better than a book. It doesn’t weigh you down and you can carry all your damn novels around in your fecking pocket. How can that not be better? You get a wider choice of books and you don’t have to wait a week for them to turn up at your door. HOW is that NOT better?
And what about the in-book dictionary? It means I don’t have to pretend I know what a word means because I can’t be arsed to get the dictionary off the shelf, I can look it up there and then and five minutes later forget it…without hardly moving a fecking muscle!
But the thing it also allowed me to do was simply this: It allowed me, or encouraged me, to read MORE. Whereas I used to read one ordinary book a week, with the Kindle (and please note there are other equally suitable electronic readers out there) I’m reading two or three.
Currently, I’m reading Cool Hand Luke. I’ve seen the film countless times but never knew there was a book until Scott Roche mentioned it in the comments section of one of my previous blogs.
And it’s a good book in its own right.
I also download a wider variety of stuff now…good and, sometimes, hopelessly bad. Of course, you learn to improve your writing from the good, get energised by it, but you can also learn from the bad and be energised by that too.
Look at all the genres: horror, thriller, western, comedy…Okay, so I haven’t downloaded (at least knowingly) any chick-lit yet, but I may do. I may snuggle down in bed and see what Seventeen Ways to Ruin a Casserole has to offer.
I may…then again, I may not…
What other past-time allows you to improve your skills whilst lying on your back and just moving your eyes?
Okay, so now you’re listing them. I thought you would. But you get my drift, right?