I often go to hear authors speak. Living outside of Washington, D.C., I easily attend the National Book Festival each fall allowing me to hear a different author speak each hour of the weekend celebration. I also check when authors visit bookstores and go listen. The one piece of advise I recall hearing is: If you want to get better at writing, SPEND TIME WRITING and SPEND TIME READING!
I've been writing for 20 days straight now (21 once I publish this post!). But I have also been reading so many short slices each day. Some give me ideas of topics I also might write about. Some give me ideas for craft moves I could try or genres I might write. (I really am doing to try to write a Currently Poem before March 31st). Some have made me laugh and some brought tears to my eyes.
I think about all this as I then go to write. Because of all the reading I am doing, I know now I am also spending more time revising as I write. Someone else is going to read this. What might I do to put a grin on their face? What might I do as I tell this touching part of my story to get them to feel it more? What genre would work best?
Because I have been READING so much as I write, I know my writing is getting better.
As a teacher, I just started teaching the Memoir Unit in 5th grade. I made sure to first have my students read a memoir together - Eleven by Sandra Cisneros and then I spent two more days having them read one more memoir within a group to present to the class. And I got 30 picture book memoir to have in the class for more reading. (If interested, I wrote and added pictures about this teaching HERE ).
I used to tell parents when they asked for ways to help their child: You get better at reading by reading and better at writing by writing.
Now I think I will say: You get better at reading and writing by spending lots of time reading and writing.
BOTH are needed which I am reminded of everyday during this Slice of Life Challenge.