Wednesday, May 10, 2017

If You Want to Be a Writer, You Must Be (or Become) a Reader


If you want to be a better writer, you must also be a reader. Reading is so integral to your ability to develop good writing skills. You may think you don’t have time to read, but you have to make the time. You will never become the writer you want to be if you aren’t reading. This is real talk, here. If you read more while you are trying to write, you begin to look at language differently. Story construction becomes more obvious. Character development becomes stronger with reading because you are (hopefully!) reading published works by writers who have written great characters. 

Whatever type of writing you do, you should read both fiction and non-fiction. Fiction will help you with story construction, which is extremely important in writing non-fiction. Nobody will want to read a poorly constructed non-fiction story. Fiction will also help with character development in that you will begin to see how to bring your characters to life through description and dialogue. Reading fiction will also help you with language skills by showing you how words can be used, not just to show, but to tell what is happening in your writing.

Don’t just read, but pay attention to what you read. With Non-fiction, you learn from it. This could be research for your writing, something that could influence you as a writer. Don’t be a passive reader. Always try to read non-fiction that is similar in subject and tone to what you are writing. It will influence you in getting the accuracy in details that you desire, plus it will put you in the mindset of the story setting.

If you don’t think you have time to read, you just have to make time. Find those downtimes in your day. Perhaps before you go to bed. Maybe while you are waiting for someone at a restaurant. Definitely those times that you are scanning social media or mindlessly watching TV. Not knocking TV, because watching good planned TV is so useful to being a writer. But… you know those times where you just sit, turn on the tube, and flip until you settle on something? Those times. 

Test yourself. Read as much as possible for one week. After that time, go back and look at your writing before you started reading. You should begin to easily notice issues your writing has and begin to improve it. A consistent diet of reading and writing will change your writing for the better.