During a recent radio show on which I appeared, the interviewer asked if I thought a person could be a writer if he or she wasn’t a reader. I didn’t have to think. I immediately said “no.” Afterwards, I wondered why I’d been so definite. Theoretically, it is possible for someone who’s never read a novel to write one. Let’s just say the odds are long because artists, like everyone else, build on what they know. The more ideas person has the more material he or she possesses with which to create something new.
People often ask me where I come up with my ideas for the blogs I write 5 days a week. Well, I don’t pluck them out of the air. Largely, I react to what I read. Picture this:
I’m seated at breakfast, eating oatmeal. An article sits in front of me: “A New System for a New Century,” by Klaus Schwab, executive chairman of the World Economic Forum. His pitch is that we should think as members of a global community. I think, what is the role of the individual in this new community? I let the question pass, however, and turn the page. There I find a quote attributed to Jeff James, Vice President and General Manager of Disney Institute: We want to remove the notion that leadership is a skill possessed only by CEOs and other senior executives. (“Sharing the Vision,” ad from Fortune magazine pg. 24) In other words, he wants his employees at all levels of the company to share ideas.
Okay, now I have two thoughts from two articles and also the answer to my question about the individual’s role in a global economy. Without small ideas , there can be no big ones. Without the individual there is no global community.
Mine isn’t an earth shaking insight, but if I hadn’t read eclectically, I’d have missed it and missed my point for today’s blog: Yes, to be a writer one has to read.
(Picture of Stephen King courtesy of 101books.net)