Read to write

On 30th December I was at the MCG watching Australia vs India (cricket) and reading a Twitter conversation between @frippet, @AustFiction, @CrumbleNeedy and @adamatsya about the need for Readers Retreats.

I’ve trawled through Twitter history looking to take a screenshot of the conversation but can’t find it – it did happen, I’m sure of it – so I just have the note I made on my phone:

“I’ll say it: because most writers don’t read nearly enough.” Adam Ford”

Writers can find more advice than they probably need and certainly different things will motivate different people, but I’m with Paddy O’Reilly on this one:

“I’m not even going to talk about reading, because if you aren’t doing that already why on earth do you want to be a writer?”

Thanks to Jane Rawson for suggesting it, I’ll be bringing a box of reading material to WriteSpace Retreat that you can use to escape in or be motivated by. Journals will include Kill Your Darlings, Overland, The Lifted Brow, Spark, Popshop, The Griffith Review, Frankie and Glimmer Train and there’ll be short story collections and novels with lots of underlining.

When I lived in London I was fortunate enough to go to Shaun Levin’s course ‘Reading To Write’. It was a fortnightly series of reading books I probably wouldn’t have even found much less read on my own that we used as a base for writing exercises. I’ve had many stories come out of the work that we did there and now approach reading from two perspectives: sometimes I’m a writer studying and sometimes I’m a reader indulging.

At WriteSpace Retreat I’m not offering hammocks and deckings (Parnassus Books) or ornamented rooms overlooking gardens and woods (The London School of Life), this is a working day after all, but maybe you can enjoy some time reading as part of your writing day and be like these writers:

“Read. Read. Read. If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have the time (or the tools) to write.” Stephen King

“I write two pages. And then I read and read and read.” Jose Saramago on his daily writing routine.

There’s still some space on Sunday 21st June – email writespaceretreat@gmail.com if you’d like to know more or book a desk.

I’ll be releasing future dates soon. Jen

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2 thoughts on “Read to write

  1. This is a great idea, Jen. When I was at Varuna, many many moons ago, I spent as much time reading as I did writing. Both activities fuelled each other, and I have as many great memories of what I read when I was there as what I wrote. The Shaun Levin course sounds amazing too.

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    • Thanks Adam – your Twitter conversation in December really resonated with me and I’m glad that I now have the opportunity to help promote work that writers might not typically have accessed before. And a good excuse to read more widely.

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