Walking through the aisles at a recent AWP (Association of Writers and Writing Programs) annual conference, I overheard a young writer state, "I don't read other people's stuff. I don't want to be influenced."
Let me start by adding that I did not laugh or smirk or even condescend to the young man. I thought about the paucity of his comment and felt sorry for him. Reading other writers, supporting other writers, talking to and exchanging ideas with other writers are enriching experiences that are their own reward. Those experiences also strengthen individual writing. The best advice I could give to a young or inexperienced writer is to read a lot and find a writing group to work with regularly. In addition to the friendships, you will be exposed to new ways of seeing, other perspectives, and your writing as well as your soul will benefit. To follow up, I'm using my blog to promote other writers here, as well.
I'd like to start with Ta-Nehisi Coates and his newest non-fiction book We Were Eight Years in Power. In addition, to being obsessed with it during and after reading, I feel the book is important to our national discussion about who we are and how we came to this point in our history.
Another book I'd like to recommend is Christine Young's latest work of fiction Sweet Surrender. Here is a synopsis for all of your romance lovers out there.
Book Five in the McKenna Clan Series
by Christine Young
Rogue Phoenix Press
Ripped from her family at the top of Infinity Cliff, Kimi McKenna finds herself thrust somewhere into the future. Dark elements threaten to destroy the earth unless Kimi can work together with the white witch to stop the destruction. Confused by her mate's role in the conspiracy, she refuses to acknowledge the connection. But amidst raging fire and attacks on the people she is coming to hold dear, she allows Maska O'keefe into her heart
Maska O'keefe has loved the beautiful shapeshifter for years. Unable to save her life years ago, he vows to watch over her as he is given a second chance to convince her that even though he is a witch and not a shifter, they are indeed soul mates. Kimi's divided loyalties between her family and the cause she is now a part of will determine their relationship. Only the part she plays as the messiah can bring this to a conclusion in the final battle.
Available at Amazon
Rogue Phoenix Press, LLP