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
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.