Replace your old books with the books you’ve always wanted to write

Your love of writing probably arises from a love of reading. Books and the stories in them – whether it be Dr. Seuss’ rhymes, the adventures of teen vampires in a YA novel, or a stunning piece of French literature taught in college – brought you great pleasure and left you dreaming of similar tales to be told.

Indeed, authors write the books they’ve always wanted to read, as another has so eloquently stated.

Your writing skills, after all, are the sum of all that you’ve learned from writers you’ve read and that you’ve been taught via school and guidebooks. While teachers and writing guides mostly shaped your ability to handle mechanics, such as punctuation and a simile, the fiction you’ve read molded your sense of how to plot a story, of how to introduce characters, of the dialogue between them, of how to present descriptions, and so on.

In addition, everything you’ve ever read serves as a template for your storytelling. You use the characters you’ve met and the universes you’ve explored via other books as models for protagonists and settings in your own stories. Or perhaps you synthesize the players and worlds from various books. Usually, all this is done without you even realizing it.

What you’ve read often is a springboard for your stories. As you contemplate the characters’ decisions and the themes of your favorite books, you might extend that discussion through your own stories. Or you might wonder what happens next to the characters in those stories (The juvenilia you wrote probably is just that – a sequel to the stories you loved.).

Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, the old saying goes. Rather than copy, though, why not continue the examination of a subject that your favorite books began (Actually, that author probably continued the discussion as well!)? Today, begin to replace the old books in your personal library with new books that you’ve written.