Someone once told me that they didn’t have time to read. If they were going to write and “be a writer” then they had to focus on that. Admittedly, my mouth fell open. I was shocked to hear someone say that. I have always been a reader, and a writer, and to me the two go hand in hand. In fact, I believe that you just cannot be a good writer unless you’re also a reader. I believe this to be true for many reasons.
- Reading Helps You Grow as A Writer – It’s easy to become so immersed in your own writing that you forget about the elements of “good writing.” If you’re the only author you ever read, you simply have nothing to compare yourself to.
Conversely, if you’re reading other fiction pieces and enjoying the work of other writers, you will naturally learn new writing styles, voices, and plotting approaches. You’ll find things that you appreciate and want to embrace and things that you don’t like.
It’s like trying to be a fashionista without ever looking outside of your own closet. You have to look at what others are doing so you can create your own style, so that you can learn and grow.
“Read, read, read. Read everything—trash, classics, good and bad, and see how they do it. Just like a carpenter who works as an apprentice and studies the master.
Read! You’ll absorb it.”
– William Faulkner
- You’re Not Perfect, Yet – Every writer, even the best writer that you can think of, probably has room for improvement. Books on writing help you improve your writing skills. They also help remind you that you’re not perfect and while the story is critically important, learning how to be a better writer is also important. Buy books on writing, take classes on writing, and subscribe to blogs and newsletters about writing. You cannot learn too much.
- Find Inspiration and Motivation – There’s nothing like finishing a good book, one that you consumed in a day and couldn’t put it down, for motivation. Good books are inspirational – they’ll make you want to run to your keyboard or notebook and start writing.
And it’s okay if you get ideas for your romance story from other books. Don’t plagiarize, that’s not cool. But it is okay to find inspiration in the words and stories of others.
“If you don’t have time to read,
you don’t have the time (or the tools) to write.
Simple as that.”
– Stephen King
So back to that misguided person who didn’t have time to read. I didn’t say anything to her. I could see by the expression on her face that there was no point in arguing with her. She wasn’t going to “get it.” However, I have faith that the vast majority of writers and aspiring authors are much smarter than this lady was.
And here’s the thing, you don’t need to read a book a week. In fact, I completely understand if you just don’t have that kind of time. But you do have time to read for 10-20 minutes each day. Read during your lunch break. Read before you go to bed. Turn off the television a half hour earlier and read. Make time. It’s worth it. Oh, and because I love to share and learn what other people are reading…
Right now I’m reading:
- Seventh Grave and No Body by Darynda Jones (Super awesome wonderful spectacular series!)
- Creativity: Flow and the Psychology of Discovery and Invention by Mihaly Csikszenthmihalyi
- I’m also reading a chemistry book for nursing school but that’s about as dull as it gets so I won’t recommend it.
What are you reading?