Be a Better Writer by Reading

28 04 2014

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“It usually helps me write by reading — somehow the reading gear in your head turns the writing gear.” -Steven Wright

Reading is fashionable. Again. It’s cool. We bet you all can find many statements about how good and useful reading is, how much it can influence a person and his way of thinking, and how awesome it is to sit on your cozy sofa, reading your favorite book and diving (not literally of course) into this imaginary and so wonderful world…

And all such statements are true, actually. Many famous writers, singers, politicians, and even movie characters prove the fact of reading’s great influence on people’s mind: if you take a look at their bookshelves, you’ll definitely be surprised.

“If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have the time (or the tools) to write. Simple as that.” -Stephen King

These words of the “Great Master” and famous American essayist can hardly be objected, taking into account his writing skills and his books’ importance for several generations of readers from different countries. Does it mean you should read a lot if you want to write like a professional? The answer to this question is quite predictable: yes, you should.

No good writing is possible without reading. Any proof needed? No problem.

How Reading Influences Your Writing

Being a writer, you’ll probably agree with the fact that the art of writing is nearly impossible to teach. It is impossible to finish some courses on creative writing or graduate from some university with a diploma of “a professional writer.” Do you consider it possible? We have bad news for you then.

Writing is a skill. But this skill is very complicated, because it can’t be got by simple learning of grammar rules, punctuation marks, and different writing techniques. Certainly, you should know how to write correctly, but only reading can help you achieve greatness. How?

  • It helps you find inspiration
  • It lets you gain new knowledge
  • It helps you learn your genre better
  • It provides you with wider vocabulary for your own works
  • It makes you understand the language better
  • It helps you learn from real gurus of writing
  • It helps you reveal the secrets of this job in practice

Can you imagine a musician who does not listen to music himself? The same question can be asked about writing. Every author writes for readers; no grammar rules and writing techniques will help you understand your reader if you do not read yourself.

Enjoy what you read. It is difficult and mostly impossible to write something really good if you did not experience anything good that had been written already. Being a writer yourself, you have an ace in your sleeve: you can read a book with an eye for writing, though you do not even realize it.

Everything you learn as a reader, you can use as a writer afterward. But even if becoming the second Ray Bradbury is not your plan, it is not a reason to forget about reading and consider it useless at once.

Read further @ the Huffington Post

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