A Vow To Secrecy: The Rights Of Writers And Readers

By Mary Bell

Reading is definitely an escape from stress. It provides readers with an alternative world and imagination beyond recognition. It also provides information and different insights regarding recent and past issues that affect people of different statures. A relationship between readers and writers provide an ongoing cycle of demand and supply yet some are not aware of their rights as a producer and consumer.

Being a reader also has rights. Whether big or small, a bookworm can always be harassed into reading materials that he or she might not really want to entertain or acknowledge. Below is the list of rights of an avid reader. Knowing this might not only help them choose what to read, but also help them why and how to read. These may be obvious guidelines, but it will still help those who are still not aware of their rights.

1. The right to not read.
Like any other consumers, readers can choose what to and what not to read. You are not obliged to view materials that may be offensive or does notpertain to your field of interest.

2. The right to skip pages.
A reader may skip the pages of any book, magazine, leaflet, or handbook he/she buys. This exemplifies that the reader may not be entertained or satisfied with the contents of the page or the reader might have already read the contents of the pages already.

3. The right to not finish.
Whether it’s due to boredom or lack of interest, a reader may choose not to finish a certain reading material. He/she can always replace or put a book in the shelf if it does not satisfy his/her interest anymore.

4. The right to reread.
Obviously, readers have the right to read a book over and over again. May it be for research or just pure entertainment, the bookworm has the right to read his/her books any number of times he/she wants.

5. The right to escapism
The reader has the right to turn the book into an escape from reality. Whatever topic it may be, he/she is privileged to venture into another world through the pages of a book.

6. The right to read anywhere.
Readers need not to worry about the place they read their favorite books, as long as they are not offending anyone.

7. The right to browse.
Readers have the right to browse through a book before purchasing it. This enables them to get a preview of what content the book holds and may help them in being interested about a certain topic.

8. The right to read out loud.
A person is entitled to read out loud unless an area or institution prohibits noise. Try reading out loud in your room, kitchen, bathroom or wherever you want. It helps to bring out the emotions of the material you are reading.

9. The right to write about what you read.
Book lovers are entitled to be writers too. They can write anything about the books they are reading as well as give reviews and insights on its content.

On a writer’s point of view, creating a masterpiece takes a lot of time and effort. They are usually criticized on how they write the storylines and what content they put into their hard bounded memoirs. If you are interested in becoming a writer, you should know your rights and should not be afraid to emphasize them while doing your work. Below are the rights of writers and journalists. May these lines be helpful to you and your work.

1. The right to be reflective.                                                                                                                                                                                                        Every writer has the right to reflect on what he/she is experiencing at the time. Whether it is a happy or painful experience, writers have the right to stop and reflect on the issues they are interested in writing about.

2. The right to choose a personally important topic.
A writer is has every right to write about an issue that affects him or her mostly. Giving insights on a certain topic, writers may express their feelings and insights whether it is favorable or not to a certain issue.

3. The right to go “off topic.”
Writers may choose to explore other topics that may still be related to the issue they are writing about. This gives new ideas and insights to the readers as well as aspiring bloggers and writers.

4. The right to personalize the writing process.
Every writer has the right to be recognized for his/her writing style. Remember, no two writers have the same style in writing. If so, that would be plagiarism.

5. The right to write badly.
Being an imperfect being, writers are also allowed to commit mistakes. That’s why they have a draft of their works so that they can edit it before publishing.

6. The right to “see” others write.
A writer has the right to observe other writers. This is essential for their work and may help them finish a book or article that they are currently working on.

7. The right to be assessed well.
Writers have the right to choose their review panel in order to have a feeling of fairness.

8. The right to go beyond formula.
Writers have the right to go beyond the traditional style of writing in order to create interesting and unique topics and storylines that capture the eyes and hearts of readers.

9. The right to find your own voice.
Writers have the right to find their own unique writing style in order to catch reader’s attention. Nothing prohibits a writer from becoming unique and creating his/her own voice.

These are but just simple and obvious privileges of writers and readers. We should be aware of every right and make sure to apply them whenever we feel violated and offended.


Mary Bell  is a law and business blogger. She is a freelance lawyer and a full time mother of two wonderful kids. You may likely find her writing about related subjects and/or writing for companies like BailBondsDirect.com that has been in the bail bond industry since 1999. She has recently blogged about Bail Bonds.


6 thoughts on “A Vow To Secrecy: The Rights Of Writers And Readers

  1. Thanks, Mary. I like this list of rights for readers and writers. I”d like to see a list of responsibllities of readers and writers as well. For example, does the reader have a responsibility to engage in a conversation with literary narrative once she has committed herself to it? Does the writer have a responsibility to try to get to the “truth” of the narrative that he is creating for the reader to experience?

  2. These are great points that help me think deeply about reading and writing. I recently listened to an interview with Robert Waxler in which he points out that reading is different from other forms of communication in the way it lets you enter into an imaginative state, and live within that state for the duration of the story. That’s a powerful truth, and I think that your piece is a great way to expand on some of the legal “rights” that go with that power. It seems that most people who grow up with reading as their birthright already have an intuition about this rights. Perhaps you are developing them as they pertain to children, or teachers of children, or perhaps people who are coming to the power of reading later in life (like prisoners?) who have not yet developed these intuitions?

    I love the writer’s rights to, and similarly, I suspect they apply to the people (probably most of us) who come to the power of writing later in our lives and still need to work out the “rights.”

    Thanks for sharing this. Here’s a link to the interview with Bob Waxler about CLTL in case you haven’t heard it: http://people.brandeis.edu/~dsherman/Literature%20Lab/Waxler%20Final.mp3


  3. I’ve not really thought about a reader’s ‘rights,’ in this way before, but they’re important, especially to young or disenfranchised readers. As a young person I had to fight hard to read books in my local library which were deemed to belong in the adult section. In prisons too I’ve been aware of a degree of censorship; in the world of publishing too. Readers should decide what it is they will read, the rest of us can only guide or recommend.

    As for writers I think the most important right is to find one’s own voice. It’s too easy to be persuaded by agents and editors to do otherwise.

  4. I think that one of the reasons why many students find reading punishable and stressful is because, in school they are forced to read literature that they don’t like which in my opinion can make the literature experience uncomfortable and dull. What choice do they have? If they don’t read the reading that is assign to them, they get a bad grade. In reality they are obligated to read books that they find boring. If they don’t read, their grades suffer. In my opinion I think that this article “The Rights of Writers and Readers” is a call and an eye opener for those who think that a book fits everyone’s tastes. I’m in complete agreement with each one of these rights especially with “The right to personalize the writing process”. I’m a sophomore at Brandeis University and I’m often told to write in certain ways following certain guidelines and styles. I’m a true believer that one should have the right to write how ever one likes. After all, everyone is different, therefore, why should everyone try to match the same styles of writing? It does not make sense to me. In conclusion I am glad that I was able to find this article, I’m going to make sure to share it with my friends and others as well.

  5. Thank you so much for expressing the freedom that we have through reading and writing. As a college student, I often forget the joy reading and writing give me, as they are a constant academic requirement. It is unfortunate that I associate reading and writing with work and grades, but this little reminder that you wrote will be sure to stick with me. There are so many choices that we are given when reading and writing. The books available to us are endless: providing us with so many subjects and genres to choose from. Literacy opens many doors, and the opportunity to use literature as an outlet is very special. Reading and writing are very important in order to be successful in daily life, but there can also be a unique and specialized aspect to reading and writing that allows us to express ourselves and reflect on the other things in life that are important to us as well, such as our interests and passions.

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