To be a successful writer - accomplished and gifted with the skill of writing down your thoughts in an unpretentiousness ( non pretentious?...) manner that other people can relate to - you gotta be pretty damn well read. Even the types you dont necessarily like reading or agree with. Also, you cant apologize for the way you write or think. The best writers (the ones we remember and love the most) are the ones who write like they talk. The best ones are where when you've finished the book, you have a sense of loss. Reading the book is like talking to an old friend. It is refreshing to read.
To be specific: the more I read of Lewis, the more I find myself loving his 1st person type of writing. Including himself and his ideas in his writing does not seem presumptuous at all, or like he's 'putting on airs'. Its more like...he's so full of ideas and beliefs that all he wants is to share them with other people. I feel like that most days, but unfortunately I lack his charming literary eloquence. Or a diligent audience willing to listen to my ramble.
Its a dangerous thing to read. To do that you must be open to self reflection and criticism of the world around you and what you consider to be important. If you are anything like me, and have ever avoided that sort of higher cognitive function (for various reasons - denial, self preservation, unconscious blocking etc) this can be quite a leap. Be prepared for those around you to notice a change in you and perhaps despise your new-found authoritative stand on life.
On a different matter entirely: why analyse a book just like everyone else? I really do detest talking about symbolism and themes and hidden motifs. I can do it, and I'm pretty good at doing it in my sleep even - but its utter bullshit. That what I honestly think (and here I am doing an English minor....fml). I would much rather hear what someone felt about a book, rather than hear a regurgitated backwash of whatever their high school English teacher told them was 'good English analysis' of a book. Honestly, anyone can pull an B grade English essay out of their ass at 5am the morning before its due. We've all done it. And what's really funny is that it does in fact get a high grade! Just because it contains all the 'right' things that an essay should contain. It's gross really, to think about it. I thought creative writing was supposed to be just that: CREATIVE.