I have strong opinions on reading and writing because I don't think I could live without either. I don't apologize for my opinions, but it's worth noting that's all they are--my opinions. They're worth no more or less than anyone else's.
Everyone comes at things from a perspective that's informed by their individual experiences and motives. My experiences and motives cannot be exactly the same as anyone else's. Here are more than a few things that inform my perspectives on reading and writing:
- I believe everyone who has the capacity to form words and language can write. Not everyone will be published, but everyone who can do the aforementioned things can write. Writing isn't the province of the college-educated and the affluent.
- I am a writer.
- I am a woman.
- I am not religious; I consider myself agnostic.
- I have always loved reading.
- I belong to an ethnic minority.
- I am an American.
- I am 30.
- I make mistakes, and I know it.
- I have a bachelor's degree in English.
- I took a fair number of "women's studies" courses in college.
- I am sensitive to the systematic devaluing of "women's" work, writing, and interests.
- I am a feminist.
- I have worked for a romance novel publisher, a print magazine, and an online magazine--all in an editorial capacity.
- I believe writing is a powerful tool for self-expression, introspection, and communication.
- I consider myself intellectually curious, but I don't think of myself as an intellectual.
- I have a strong interest in the social sciences.
- I would like to write and publish a novel someday.
- I write for myself, but I also enjoy entertaining other people.
- You have the right to write whatever you want; I have the right to not read it. The same is true in reverse.
- I think "fluffy" stories are no less difficult to write than "angsty" stories.
- I hate the word "fluff" as it pertains to stories. To me it implies a lack of substance.
- I love fanfiction, and I don't think it is in any way less than "original" fiction.
Some people like to write in all caps. Some people like to write without any caps. Some people disdain punctuation. I personally find it difficult to read stories like that; those authorial choices interfere with my enjoyment of a story. You can break all kinds of writing "rules" and still have lots of people think your story is fantastic. Even the stories I consider horrible!fic have an audience. There's ultimately no right or wrong. And that's as it should be, I think. Just because I don't like something doesn't mean other people shouldn't like it.
For me, part of the issue is that I would like to publish a novel at some point. That means that I am trying not to pick up bad writing habits that many, though not all publishers would frown upon. I want to increase my chances of getting through the piles and piles of manuscripts out there. Now, lots of stuff that breaks rules gets published, but the industry does have some general standards, and if you follow those standards, you're less likely to just have your manuscript rejected right at the start. Those standards may obviously vary from publisher to publisher and genre to genre.
A lot depends on your motivations for writing, whether you're targeting a particular audience, what genre you're writing for, etc. I once worked as an editorial assistant at a romance novel publisher, so I have some sense of how the industry works. I've also worked in other kinds of publishing--magazine and online--in an editorial capacity. That means I'm used to looking at text in a certain way and trying to get it to conform to certain publishing standards. I notice certain things; I can't help it. I am a writer, and I have edited in the past. Both those things inform my perspective as a reader. That is a blessing and a curse.
All that said, I absolutely write for myself first and foremost. We each have to make our own artistic choices--and no one will like all of them. That's just not possible.
I have no interest in making the rules or beating writers over the head with them. But I do have opinions, and without them I wouldn't have much to write about in this journal. *g*