Think about a time when you sat down to read a book by one of your favorite authors. Have you ever been curious about exactly what influenced him or her to become a writer? I know I’ve always been curious about that very thing with respect to the authors whose books I enjoy reading. Perhaps if you found your way to my website and you’re reading this, you might be curious to know what influenced me to become a writer. For that reason, I chose what influences a writer to write as the topic of today’s post and here I will try to answer the question, what influenced me to write.
When asking an author about his writing influences you could actually be asking about two different things. For example you might be asking what motivated him or her to become an author. Or you might instead be asking about the influences on his or her style of writing. I’ll address both questions as they relate to me in this post.
Looking back, I’d have to say that my love of reading, consistently nurtured since I first learned to read as a child, has played the largest role in encouraging me to to want to be a writer. I think that it is quite an easy transition from learning to love hearing or reading stories to wanting to create and tell or write them yourself. For me learning to read, you might say, was the spark that eventually kindled a fire of desire to write books. I firmly believe that to be a good writer, one must first be a voracious reader.
The moment I first seriously considered writing an actual book I think was while reading my first Joseph Wambaugh book, The New Centurions. I believe I was still in high school at the time. That should be right since the book was pulished in 1970. I loved it and thought it was a fascinating book, but I was also more than a little impressed by Wambaugh himself for a couple of reasons.
I grew up watching cop shows like Dragnet and Adam 12. I was fasinated by police officers and the idea of someday becoming a cop myself. In addition, my father was a police officer while I was growing up and that also contributed to it. So of course I liked Wambaugh because he was not only a writer but a real cop too. I think after reading that first book he wrote, the idea was planted in my head that someday, if I became a police officer I too would try and write a book like he did. To this day, many decades later, Joseph Wambaugh remains one of my favorite authors and he too in a way played a part in influencing me to become not only a writer but also a cop. I’ve since read all of his books. They are all gritty and true to life, but at the same time Wambaugh always brings a healthy portion of humor to writing about cops and the job cops do. One of the best examples of that I think is my favorite Joseph Wambaugh book, The Secrets of Harry Bright.
Having looked a bit at the motivation part of the question, I’ll say a little about the writing style part of it. Candidly, especially as a crime fiction author, I’m certain I’m still in the process of developing a writing style. There are many authors I’ve read whose writing styles I much admire and wish I could emulate. Beyond Wambaugh, I very much like the writing styles of authors like Ernest Hemingway, John Sandford, Robert B. Parker, and Lee Childs to name just a few. Of course there are significant differences in all of the styles of the authors I mentioned. But I think there are similarities too. As much as I might wish to copy the style of any one of them, I don’t think that is really possible. Instead I think my writing style as it develops will be uniquely mine, although certainly my style will likely have been influenced by the styles of the authors I admire and whose books I enjoy reading.
If you happen to be a writer or at least someone who aspires to write, what do you think influences your desire to want to write? I’ve found it interesting to think about that myself while writing this post. I think you will too.
I’m always up for connecting with readers. Comments are not just always appreciated but encouraged. Please consider having your say on the topic of this post by leaving a comment. Questions are always good too.