Why you should be reading as well as writing

Reading is always a good idea – to quote Stephen King from his book On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft –

“If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all others: read a lot and write a lot. There’s no way around these two things that I’m aware of, no short cut.” – Stephen King

But have no fear!

Reading doesn’t mean you have to throw yourself into a trilogy or some academic heavy textbook, unless you want to that is.

Reading is a way for anyone to escape, to take some time away for yourself and your imagination, and for writers, it’s a way to top-up our skills and appreciation of the writing world. It’s creative fuel.

Ever worry that you’re going to rehash the same ideas?

Reading is a magnificent way to open your eyes to a new world.
Reading of any kind, from fiction to opinion columns, hearing (reading) a new voice can supercharge your own creativity.

Write what you know

A lot of people say ‘Write what you know’ and to some extent, that’s true
you can always know more right? Learn more… don’t let that phrase put you off writing about something, read everything and anything and use it to your advantage.

Sometimes we get stuck in our own heads as writers too much and it takes another voice, another writer to knock you back into a good flow. Reading other people’s work is a great reminder of how we all do things a little differently. It’s reading as a writer – a term used to explain how you can read someone else’s work to evaluate how effective their delivery was – basically was their writing interesting and why?

Have you ever thought any of these?

I just need someone to bounce off. I’m worried my characters sound the same. Is that really what would happen?

If you’re asking any of those types of questions, it’s time to put the pen down and go do some research – read! Figure out exactly how your Scottish character would sound, go read some Scottish literature, find out if Ms. Farningworth’s scones would have included mulberry jam by reading a historical cookbook and so on. You get my point.

Reading is never a waste of time, even the worst writing can provide you with how NOT to do something.

So, if you haven’t stopped to read for a while I recommend you try and take some time to.

“The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.” – Dr. Seuss

2 thoughts on “Why you should be reading as well as writing

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