I joined social media in the Spring of 2020 as I needed to promote my self-published book, The Checkers Club. I joined a few writing groups, mostly to get tips on writing and publishing. Early on, I noticed posts saying things such as, “How many books did you read before you decided to write one yourself?” or “Do you need to be a reader in order to write?”
Usually I would just scroll by such posts, but on one early morning visit to one of the writing groups I joined, I could not let the frequent post go, “How many books did you read before you decided to write one yourself?” My comment was, “Why does this question keep getting asked? Asking if you should be a good reader in order to be a good writer is like wanting to get a drivers license without ever driving a car.”
I looked later and there was a slew of comments on my comment. Someone even reached out to me via email, which I never read. I was not trying to be nasty, just honest. I thought my comment was obvious, you cannot be a good writer without being a avid reader. They go hand in hand. How would one expect someone to read their writing if they themselves are not reading?
From an early age, I remember sitting on my mom’s lap as she read to me my favorites, Babar the Elephant and Little Golden Books. I started writing the alphabet when I was three, thanks to my twin siblings who attended kindergarten two years ahead of me. They would come home and teach me how to write my name, how to tie my shoes, and of course, they would read to me. I would look at the milk carton at breakfast and say, “Look, MILK has my name in it, KIM.”
In my youth, I took more to reading than writing but got better at writing in middle and high school. I had a very good English teacher in high school pull me aside and told me to please keep writing. By her suggestion, I joined the journalism team but never put my skills to writing professionally until 2018, when I started to write The Checkers Club.
As I write this, I have many books I want to read, be they on bookshelves, my nightstand, or my Kindle and Apple book libraries. I am starting to map out my outline for my second book, What Good Are You? And What Good Can You Do Today? But do not just take my word on reading and writing. The great author Steven King says, “If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have the time (or the tools) to write. Simple as that.”