Read A Lot, Write a Lot

A. E. here. I ask you, why do you have to read to write well?  The answer is quick and easy:

Reading teaches you how to write. That’s the most simple clear cut way of putting it.

If you don’t have time to read, then you don’t have time to write. You know who said that? Stephen King, who’s written like eighty novels, if not more and has had 30 novels on the New York Time’s Bestselling List and has sold 350 MILLION copies. If the master says it, then you should definitely believe it.

Reading and writing goes hand in hand.

When you read, you understand language better, because you’re in-taking how language works to bring about certain feelings and descriptions. You read in your own genre, so you learn how to write in that genre. Reading exposes you to more words, so you broaden your vocabulary.

And of course, reading gives you inspiration.

And with all of that, here comes a declaration.

I don’t read enough.

As a writer, as a novelist, I do not read enough.

Which is crazy, because growing up, I inhaled books like if I didn’t read I’d suffocate.

My creative writing professor told me at one point during my early years at UWG that I needed to read more, and he said that while we were talking about my writing. It both shocked me, because I’m used to teacher’s telling me to put my book away while I read in class, and secondly, because I knew he was totally and completely right.

Reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body.

—Richard Steele

If you want to write these, then you need to read these

Think about it.

For a body to stay in good shape, and keep you healthy, and to do what it needs to do so you keep on ticking, you need to eat right and exercise. This is a good point for me, because as a writer and budding artist, and as someone who’s favorite hobbies are writing and watching anime and movies and playing video games…all of which require my tush in a chair, so I must get up and exercise and move around.

So when it comes to the mind, which needs to be supplied with creative thoughts and inspiration and knowledge in order to churn out good work, then that comes from reading. If you don’t read, if you aren’t putting anything into your creative pot, then how will your work be anything worthwhile?

 Read, read, read. Read everything—trash, classics, good and bad, and see how they do it. Just like a carpenter who works as an apprentice and studies the master. Read! You’ll absorb it. Then write. If it is good, you’ll find out. If it’s not, throw it out the window.     

—William Faulkner

This means that a well-read writer, that is a writer who reads a lot, it’ll show in their writing, much better than a writer who rarely reads, which is how my writing professor was so easily able to tell me that I needed to read more though he didn’t know me. My lack of reading revealed itself in my poor writing.

A writer who doesn’t read is like a guitarist who doesn’t listen to guitar music (so how are they a guitarist?) or a painter who doesn’t look at other paintings (so how are they a painter?).

How can you be a writer if you don’t read other writing? A guitarist without listening to other guitarists? A painter without having studied other painters?

The answer is you can be those things, but you just won’t be good at any of it.

So from one writer to another, if you want to write you need to read, and that’s a fact. For me, I’ve been working on reading more, which is why I have the A. E. Reads Book Review section of my blog, it reminds me I need to be reading consistently.

So my next post is a Book Review on Rivers Solomon’s The DEEP and I’m excited to finish reading it.

What are you reading? Are you reading enough, or just a little? If you’re making time to write, then you need to make time to read! Reading fuels writing, so read lot so you can write a lot.

Talk next time!

And as always, while I write my cat Aomine keeps me company by my side.

She’s in heaven. While I write she keeps me company

14 Comments Add yours

  1. kat says:

    I am reading way too much and need to cut back to make room for writing, so I have the very opposite situation. It’s hard to find a balance between them sometimes, but I absolutely agree you need to read in order to write well. There’s a book I read just because the author proudly proclaimed he wasn’t a reader because I was curious about how that would turn out. It was, well, quite strange!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s so interesting! Then when you get back to writing you’ll have tons of inspiration and broadened vocab and new knowledge to pull from. And yes you’ve got to take part in your own subject. Like a baseball player who never goes to other baseball games? Ah maybe that one doesn’t work. But I do wonder what that book turned out like! Its strange to me he thinks that “not a reader” is something to be proud of enough to proclaim. Like I felt more ashamed of myself admitting I don’t read enough, not proud about it.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. kat says:

        Yeah, that’s the whole reason why I decided to read it. I really don’t think it’s something he should be proud of. There were so many writing don’ts that I almost didn’t make it through, though there’s a surprising amount of people who actually liked it. If you’re interested it’s called Killer Domes and the Chosen One. Aside from that one, I’m loving learning so many different ways of writing and expression. I’ve found reading so much and writing book reviews has been so helpful in helping me formulate all of my as yet unwritten stories.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Writing don’ts! I can imagine. I also love learning and getting smacked with a particularly good sentence or a description that makes me want to write just that good. What kind of stories are bouncing in your head, eagerly awaiting which one will be written first?

        Liked by 1 person

      3. kat says:

        Yes, that’s the best part of reading! There’s so much art that goes into writing and reading something that masterful is always a thrill. Haha, I have too many stories! One of my favorites is about 9 princes who are vying for their father’s crown. Then there’s one based on Cassandra in Greek mythology where she’s flung back and forth through time so it makes her sound like she’s a prophetess. And there’s one I’ve been trying to finish for almost a decade about a lady thief lord. It’s so hard to choose a project sometimes!

        Liked by 1 person

      4. Oh my goodness choosing a story is even harder than starting it. I call it riding the merry-go-round. I pick a story and ride then change my mind and pick another story and ride. I can ride it going around and around without ever deciding on a story. With Zippy Mae, it took me like four or five months to solidify that this was The One. So now its time to write it! I want to read your Cassandra story. I love Greek mythology so much. So you’ve got my vote!

        Liked by 1 person

      5. kat says:

        I love that! It really does feel like a merry-go-round. I think it’s why I’m dragging out my current WIP. It’s too hard to decide! I’m really looking forward to your Zippy Mae story. I prefer adult fantasy, but I’m really hoping my kids will love it one day because I adore everything you’ve posted about it so far. The princes have been waiting for over a year, but there’s something more compelling about Cassandra, so I’m leaning heavily towards that one, too.

        Liked by 1 person

      6. You know how I end up deciding? I journal. I talk to myself through journals what exactly I want to tell, to talk about, to explore. I question my feelings, I look at the current things I’m into and what’s making me react, what’s giving me inspiration. My post “Blackness in Disney’s the Princess and the Frog: Introducing the Zippy Mae series” is a journal entry I wrote myself and then edited to put on my blog. Its how I decided what I wanted to talk about, what story I wanted to tell. I’m so glad you’re looking forward to Zippy Mae and the Seven Kingdoms. I got to get into gear and write it. So my suggestion is do a journal entry, talk out what story you really want to tell, then you’ll be able to finally get off the merry-go-around and decide on your project for good!

        Liked by 1 person

      7. kat says:

        That’s exactly what I need to do! I know a lot of writers talk about using a journal to track their writing and to make notes on their characters, story, world, arcs, etc., but it never occurred to me to use one to figure out what to write next. But it’s such a great idea because, when you finally get around to picking something new, a lot of the thinking has already been done. Yes, please, I can’t wait for Zippy Mae’s story! And thanks so much for the idea!

        Liked by 1 person

      8. You’re welcome! I can’t wait to read about the time-traveling Cassie (like if its a modern story she’ll probably want a nickname right? Uh oh I’m getting really into it!) And thanks so much for your support for Zippy Mae.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Joseph says:

    One needs to expose themselves to as many writers, thinkers, artists, and regular people as possible. Read. Travel. Research. Get out there. Writing is about our human and spiritual experiences.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes! Traveling and research are a must. I’ve been to Japan, South Korea 2x and Costa Rica. The Philippines was up next but with the pandemic not anytime soon. Writing IS an experience. We get to sit down and buckle up for a ride in someone else’s world. Nothing else like it. Travel space and alternate dimensions and the intricacies of love while relaxed in our own room.

      Like

  3. reading fuels writing…rightly said.well I am an avid reader myself and getting into reading is exploring something new each day.Its an adventure in itself and of course that daily dose of inspiration.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes! Reading is exploration. Diving to deep seas, treading dark forests, discovering ancient secrets. You can go anywhere and do anything when you read. And yes, of course inspiration. As long as we know the difference between being inspired and stealing, that is

      Liked by 1 person

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