If you’ve always had aspirations to be a great writer, here’s an important tip: better readers become better writers. In the words of Stephen King, “If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all others: read a lot and write a lot.”
Writing is a skill and, just like any other skill, you’re going to have to be committed to continually improving and refining that skill. Reading what others have written will not only expose you to great craftsmanship but will also challenge you to keep making improvements to yours.
If you’re wondering how reading makes you a better writer, when it comes to any creative vocation, being inspired by others is going to motivate us to be better at what we do. Great chefs eat food prepared by other chefs at the top of their game, and great musicians listen to music written and performed by their contemporaries as well as great musicians that have come before them. A writer who reads the works of others is engaging in much the same process.
Reading the right way
Having an understanding of what engages readers and what motivates them to read a particular author or genre are all important facets of becoming a better author.
If you want to grow as a writer, read more, including books, both fiction and nonfiction, articles in magazines and the newspaper. Choose books to read out of your “comfort zone.”
The following are five reasons as to how reading makes you a better writer:
- Reading helps to develop your critical thinking skills
- Reading exposes you to a variety of different writing styles
- Reading allows you to study grammar in context
- Reading helps you to expand your vocabulary
- Reading inspires you with new ideas
The art of reading like a writer is something you have to work at to become more skillful. When you’re reading, you may want to make some notes on:
- Plot vs characters? What appealed to you the most?
- What emotions were you feeling as you read the book? Did the language the author used play a part in engendering these emotions?
- How would you describe this book to other readers and would you recommend it?
- What lesson did you learn from reading the book that you can apply to your own writing?
Writing the right way
Reading more is the best way to develop your own creative ideas and can help you in your journey to becoming a better writer. Getting exposure to different writing styles, new words, and a variety of different topics will, in time, be instrumental in finding your own writing process and style.
And, who knows, but one day you might find that all of this “reading to write” has paid off when you become a finalist in the American Book Fest “Best Book” Awards, an online publication that provides coverage for books from mainstream and independent publishers as well as self-published authors.