As writers, we have all been stuck before. Whether it’s a stubborn story beat, or the actions of a particularly difficult character, writing your best story can be an on-going challenge. Of all the “solutions” discussed out there, book clubs are rarely talked about.
Harnessed the right way, they can be very effective.
Writers Are Readers… And Book Clubs Are For Readers
Writers are, by and large, readers (at least they had better be if they expect to hone their craft). In the pages of great books, most of us found our core inspiration. I would also be willing to wager that most writers if they’re being honest, can tell you the specific books and authors influenced their current works in progress.
I can tell you right now. Stephen King.
Modern life is demanding, isn’t it? With more and more to do and the same old 24 hours in a day to do it (we really should talk to someone about changing that) often the small joys get squeezed out in favor of necessity.
You have probably heard someone bemoan the fact that they don’t have enough time to read as much as they would like to. That person maybe you. Full disclosure here, that person is often me. One of the ways people overcome this challenge is through book clubs, joining forces with a group of friends, reading a book every couple of weeks before getting together to talk about it.
Book Clubs For Writers
As a writer, book clubs can be an effective way to talk about writing. There is little pressure, too. Even if the book you choose is a bona fide classic, you can rest assured that there are going to be points within the story that begs the question:
“What was the writer thinking?”
“What could the writer have done better with their story?”
We’re full of these little critiques. That’s not a bad thing either. Those little critiques? They mean you’re creative.
Many of us can’t help harboring strong opinions, especially after reading three hundred pages. As writers, we understand that every story beat and character moment represents another writer’s choice. Once we get in front of a group, we should be brimming over with them.
Joining book clubs can help formulate those critiques and get them out of our heads. They get a writer talking constructively about the art and craft of writing and discussing creative story problems in an open forum.
Talking about a book helps me churn through difficult ideas about my own work in progress. When I practice articulating openly what works and does not work in a particular story, it refreshes a larger part of my creative process. I can talk about something I liked (or didn’t) on the page and on the ride home and use that to reflect on my story.
Then, by the time I’m back at my desk, I’m recharged and ready to look at my story problems with fresh eyes.
Do you have a book club? If so, what are your thoughts on how it affects your writing?