I would probably be preaching to the choir if I was to rattle on about how important reading is in general, but after reading a number of disturbing posts by would-be authors over the years I feel compelled to highlight how vital reading is for a writer.

A writer’s tools are his or her words. Without them a writer is nothing. He or she is just someone staring at a blank page trying to figure out how to get the dancing figures out of his or her mind. A writer with a limited vocabulary is a writer who will struggle to communicate their story to their reader, which means the story will most likely be childish and uninteresting.

It’s obvious that reading more means our vocabulary can be enhanced. But someone might argue for studying a dictionary in this case. This won’t do, because we not only need to learn new words, we need to learn what to do with them. This is where reading what others have written becomes really important. We learn how to craft a story, how to weave words, how to make a simple sentence speak to the reader in a way that the words alone cannot.

A good writer will read often and will read widely. They might choose to read specific books by a specific author to improve their character development, or certain other works to improve their description or ability to convey emotion or tension to the reader.

Another important point is that not only are we learning our craft by reading, we are gaining the knowledge and experience of the other writers who have been learning their craft for a long time before us. Why struggle to enhance your writing when you can tap into the inkwell of the ages and bring hundreds of years of that knowledge and experience to the fore?

Shockingly there are quite a few aspiring writers out there who believe they don’t need to read to write. I guess they don’t, but if they want to write well then they need to stop lying to themselves. Often these people are just too lazy to learn their craft and want to write for the wrong reasons. If they don’t enjoy words enough to read them, how can they enjoy them enough to write them?

Categories: Reading


Jason · June 16, 2011 at 6:34 pm

Well spoken — er, written!

‘Nuff said.

A.Hannan · August 17, 2017 at 10:24 pm

I love it.

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