Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Reading Is An Important Tool For A Writer

Mr. King minces no words about his thoughts on writers and reading. I had a very good friend who wrote wonderful, folksy personal essays. She turned them out, one after another, like pennies pouring from a broken piggy bank. But guess what? She absolutely hated to read!

She did read what her writer friends wrote but she never picked up a book and sat down to spend an afternoon reading. Never! I think that she is definitely the exception.

As Mr. King indicates, reading and writing go hand in hand. Or should! But why is reading so important for a writer? Because reading the work of others teaches us, offers inspiration and is also a break from the hard work of writing. Reading should be a pleasure for most writers. Just not the ones like my friend cited above.

We don't want to read and then copy the same style or theme or plot as what we've just read. That's not the idea at all. Read the great authors to identify what good writing is. That is what we writers should strive for.

Should you read only in the genre in which you write? No, read a variety. Who knows, you might be inspired to step outside your comfort zone and try writing something entirely new and different for you. Should you read a trashy, poorly written novel occasionally? I think it can only serve to alert you to what is often really bad writing. It's then that we ask ourselves How did this ever get published? There are readers who don't care about what you and I consider bad writing.

Sometimes we have to make time to write and we do it. So, go ahead and make time to do some reading, too. Consider it an integral  part of your writing world. If a successful writer like Stephen King is adamant about writers reading, we should listen to him.

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