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You’re Not a Writer if You’re Not a Reader

This is a guest post by Annalisa Conti.

A child is walking on the beach. He paces slowly, still not quite stable on his chubby legs. He firmly holds on to his father’s hand, with that strength that only little kids have, while his eyes wander around. He avidly watches everything: the water and its vastness, which smoothly pulls the sun into its soft embrace; seagulls lazily floating in the wind and then suddenly flapping their wings to catch a faster gust; other children shouting and running around him; a ball rolling close to his foot; an old piece of glass lying on the shore, ready to be picked up and cherished as a treasure. Everything is new, everything is fascinating to him.

Such is a book for a writer: we don’t go to the beach just to take a nap, enjoying the sun on our skins and the wind through our hair. We dive into books in the same way a child walks into life: we listen to the tiniest whispers, trying to absorb the craft of those who are better than us; we look for inspiration in the spaces between words, in commas and periods, in things showed off and thoughts left unspoken. We read deeper: we don’t ask ourselves “Why did Betty kill her husband?”; instead we go “How would the scene of Betty killing her husband feel if it were described from the point of view of the husband? Or the old man who lives next door? Or the cat?”. We learn what we can, step after step. We let our fingers sink in the sand a little longer, we follow the flight of an albatross with our eyes wide open. 

Somebody once told me: you need to read as a reader, first, and then read again, as a writer. I prefer my own version of the story: you need to read as a writer, first, to immerse yourself in the book and appreciate the details, the smells, and the colors, and bring some of them home with you. Only then you can read as a reader, fly high and enjoy the emotions, laugh with the characters, and cry at the end.

Annalisa Conti is a passionate storyteller: she has always built stories in her mind and found her greatest satisfaction in sharing them. Her books describe her world, made of adventure, wonders, and everything these can bring to her characters.  She is the author of novels ALL THE PEOPLE, a psychological mystery book of which reviewers say "you cannot put it down", and AFRICA, a "fascinating" "astonishing" story of a life-changing journey to the end of the world, and several short stories.
She lives and writes in New York City.
Read more on her website:

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