~ Do you write? Are you a reader? ~
You have to read widely, constantly refining (and redefining) your own work as you do so. It’s hard for me to believe that people who read very little (or not at all in some cases) should presume to write and expect people to like what they have written, but I know it’s true. If I had a nickel for every person who ever told me he/she wanted to become a writer but “didn’t have time to read,” I could buy myself a pretty good steak dinner. Can I be blunt on this subject? If you don’t have the time to read, you don’t have the time (or the tools) to write. Simple as that. Reading is the creative center of a writer’s life.
Stephen King On Writing
I Love to Read. Do You?
Reading is one of my greatest pleasures. If I had my way, I would send many hours a day immersed in a book. For this reason, being a professional writer makes perfect sense for me. To be a successful writer, I can justify my hours inside a book as a job essential.
Next time someone questions why you have books stacked from floor to ceiling, or why you are too busy reading to pay a social call, use one of these delicious excuses.
Why Writers Should Read
- To be inspired
- To absorb literary language
- To learn new words
- To develop empathy through identification with characters who are not like you
- To keep your brain active
- To escape your everyday world
- To become a better reader
- To find writers you love.
- To support fellow writers
How Writers Should Read
Okay. So now you have explained those piles of books. But how should you approach them as a writer?
- Read for structural ideas
- Read to discover what will excite readers
- Read to analyze structure, character, and plot
- Read to study the voice and pacing of different authors
- Read to see what works and what doesn’t in storytelling
- Read to see how theme and motif can be expressed
- Read to discover writers who write like you do. and those who don’t
- Read to see what writing techniques work and what ones don’t
- Read to find comparables to use in your query
What Writers Should Read
Do you tend to read the same kinds of books all the time? Branch out and try some of these.
- Genres and styles you write in
- Genres and styles you don’t write in
- Books set in places you write about
- Books set in places you have never been
- Nonfiction books about writing
- Nonfiction books about self-actualization
- Books about marketing and running a business
- Stephen King’s On Writing – the book every writer must read
The real importance of reading is that it creates an ease and intimacy with the process of writing… Constant reading will pull you into a place… where you can write eagerly and without self-consciousness.
Stephen King On Writing