Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Cosmic Connections

by Hannah Roveto

The two things every writer must do are read and write. We all know this. When people ask me what I am reading, I always answer with fiction titles. Of late my two answers of "best of the recent reads" are Mark Haddon's Spot of Bother and now Roland Merullo's Breakfast With Buddha, a fabulous book that makes you think, introduces you to Eastern concepts in a Western way, with humor.

Yet we all, I know, read multiple books for multiple reasons. Three other books on my coffee table have been non-fiction: a work-related selection, Marketing to the Social Web, by my former boss, Larry Weber; a parental choice dealing with educational issues; and How to Practice, by the Dalai Lama, chosen because he seems so calm and I get to feeling so chaotic. Hey, why not, right?

Bit by bit, I'd pick each up and read a section, and the strangest thing happened. In my book about digital marketing -- which does apply to promoting authors and books, by the way -- Larry shows how to look at marketing from a new perspective in order to maximize connections. The educational book talks about, yes, the need to understand things from a different viewpoint in order to create strategies to streamline and connect. The Dalai Lama? He wants to show me how happiness comes from clearing the mind, from simplifying, in order to become properly connected. Look at things differently, simplify, connect.

A cosmic connection, without doubt. None of these books had anything to do with writing, yet they absolutely affected my revision process. I really needed someone to remind me not only to turn my own world on end, to examine it more carefully, but to turn my WIP on end and see it more deeply from fresh vantages. Another issue I had was allowing myself to get bogged down with multiple threads. I was a bit afraid of them, worrying whether they would unneccesarily complicate my story. As a result, I was dealing with bulky, chunky, nubby yarn threads, like those you'd weave into a loose homemade scarf. Now I've taken control and streamlined my threads into a smoother ribbon form, that -- no surprise -- weave together more tightly and more effectively.

So, yes, read, read, read, about anything and everything. Flowers, the news (of course!), plumbing, Buddhism, digital marketing, parenting, deck repair, whatever. Read for every part of your life, because somehow, I swear, it all comes back to the writing -- not just as a topic, but sometimes as a tactic -- in the end.


Carleen Brice said...

What excellent advice! You always hear read widely or read in your genre, but this takes it to another level.

Lynne Griffin and Amy MacKinnon said...

Glad you enjoyed it -- the universe was definitely pounding me on the head when I most needed it, so I suppose it is true that one needs to listen to input from all sources, not just the ones you assume will be helpful!