Want to be a writer? Read, read, and read some more. It’s the first requirement for writing well. Don’t take my word for it, take Stephen King’s. He said: “You have to read widely, constantly refining (and redefining) your own work as you do. If you don’t have the time to read, you don’t have the time (or the tools) to write.”
I’m always flabbergasted to hear people say they want to write, and in the same breath, they say they don’t have the time to read. I want to pass on what other writers have said in many ways in the past: How dare you write without reading!
5 Reasons Why Writing Requires Reading
“Reading is the creative center of a writer’s life,” said King in his book, “On Writing.” Experiencing good writing through reading is just as important as taking writing courses. In fact, a good writing course is going to require you to read a lot. If you’re serious about writing, here are the reasons why you need to read more:
#1 Reading is the best writing teacher. First, there are many great writing books out there. Those are your constant teachers. When you’re stumped, you can always go back to them. If you’re a new writer, I highly recommend Paula Munier’s “The Writer’s Guide to Beginnings: How to Craft Story Openings that Sell.” Second, you can learn from both good and “bad” books. I hesitate to call any book bad because every work, even those you don’t like, has something to offer.
#2 Reading teaches you about the publishing market. Read the latest best seller in your genre and find out why it’s selling. Reading it will help you understand what other readers like about the book. It will help you understand your market and the competition.
#3 Reading educates you in many ways. Writing novels requires an expansive mindset. Even if your focus is narrow, you need lots of background information to populate your story. This is where reading nonfiction helps. If you’re writing a medical suspense novel, it helps if you’re a doctor or nurse. If you’re not, read up on your subject matter. Interviewing experts in the field will also help.
#4 Reading taps into your creativity. When you’re suffering from a writer’s block, stop for a while and read away. Writing a novel is a long process. Don’t sacrifice your reading habit because you’re too busy writing. Set aside even a half hour every day for reading as a break.
#5 Reading inspires. Writing is a lifelong endeavor. Reading will help sustain your interest. When you’re not writing, you should be reading. When the rejections start coming (and they will), pick up a good book. It will remind you why you’re writing to begin with and inspire you to persevere.
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