We’ve all wondered and perhaps researched how to get better at writing. However why is it that we are told to read more to become a better writer? I suppose you may have heard of advice such as ‘just write’ too? Writing to become a better writer is easier to make sense of; it’s possible to understand that writing regularly will help with keeping a writing routine. It may even help with your creativity and ideas. Yet why is it that when we look to our favourite authors for help, we are always told to read more? I mean you might read ten books a day; the truth is, they don’t know how much you read. So how do you know if your reading is effective? This post hopes to discover what people mean when they say that reading improves your writing.
So, what is considered ‘reading’? This could have many different meanings to everyone. For some, reading may imply reading fiction, to others it may mean reading articles and newspapers. It could even mean reading another’s body language! My point, is that although there are many forms of ‘reading,’ they all have something in common. The common ground between the meanings I have displayed is awareness. If for example, you were wanting to write a romance novel, then being aware of different styles and plots within that genre will help you to write better. If you were wanting to write a piece on culture and society, then articles and newspapers will make you more aware of societal views and thus make your writing better. So please, don’t just read a book for the sake of it. Find out what it is you need to be more aware of (styles, genres etc) and read with this in mind. Your writing will be better before you know it!
Okay so now the big question- how much reading is too much reading? I suppose you never really can have done enough reading, however if you’re reading all day, then when would you find the time to write? This may sound very clichéd but… whenever you’re ready. I don’t know about you but even I find it difficult to read a book and then continue to write. I find my new ideas that I think are genius, are really just a different version of the book I am reading. Sound familiar? Whereas if you are reading to learn more about a writing style or genre, then once you feel like an expert in that field, should you write. It may not be perfect at first but this is where that other famous piece of writing advice comes in. Write more. The best way to find if you’re ready to write is, pardon the pun, to write it down. The ‘it’ however referring to your knowledge. If you think of reading as a form of research, write down anything that you believe is valuable to your writing. Once you have collected all of that information, ask yourself, have you done enough reading?
We always knew that reading and writing would equate to quality writing. Only now I hope that it is a little easier to understand. Please feel free to comment below as I’d love to hear everyone’s thoughts on the subject.