Why Reading is Important

A lot of writers hear over and over, “Reading makes you a better writer.” It is true, and then again it isn’t true. Reading for pleasure is certainly a good thing, and should be done! But to improve as writers, we have to open our mind up further and see how the words on the page affect us, whether positively or negatively.

We need to read as writers: pull our the elements of craft, character, POV, setting, plot and realize how they are being used. Sometimes it takes multiple passes to catch, and others not much. This allows us to incorporate other styles of writing, and use what we like to read.

I don’t always read like this, but I do notice the elements as I read, and try to figure out how a particular author uses them in his/her story. It’s much easier for shorter pieces, but harder on longer works.

Anyway, as writers we need to read, read, read. Even if you only read for pleasure, you’ll still pick up bits and pieces here and there. Try though, to read as a writer the next time you pick up your favorite book.


2 thoughts on “Why Reading is Important

  1. It’s important to read good books with amazing writing, but I think it’s also important to read some of the bad stuff as well. I’m a pretty critical reader, but when I read something I LOVE, I tend to back off a little on the judgment. Yet, when it’s bad, I’m able to pick out why this didn’t work, or why this character isn’t believable, and she did WHAT in that dress?! It allows me to see what works and what doesn’t work so that when I write on my own I think, “Oh no, that didn’t work, I can’t write it like this.”

    I like to ramble.

    • I agree! Yes. Reading bad writing can be helpful. I used to read slush for Blue Mesa Review, and 1) it makes you know you are a better writer, 2) it makes so pause and think “Do I write like that?”.

      Also reading great writing that is a style you don’t like is very helpful! I hate JD Salinger, but I read him and I learn.

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