Reading Can Make You A Better Writer

Can you ever be a writer without being an avid reader?



I credit my late father for sharing his love of reading with me. You might remember me sharing this story with you before, but for those new to the TWL community, here it is.

When I was a little girl, without fail, every Saturday morning, my father would take me to the local library. While he picked his six books for the week, I’d go into the children’s section and pick my three. Three was the limit back in those days, but my father got six by using my mom’s library card. And yes, he read six books a week.

I often think had I not fallen in love with the written word, become totally immersed in the stories between those pages, would I be a writer?

The answer is no. I think you need an appreciation of the hard work it takes to pen a story, or get a sense of how words are strung together. How talented authors pen stories that make you stay up way past bedtime. The tales that live on in your heart even when you’re an adult.

These days, reading time competes with my work and writing and that’s made me more of a picky reader. I wish I’d been this picky when I started to write because I could have seen the flaws that lead to rejections from editors and agents.

Next time you read, here are some questions to consider-

What made you read more than the first chapter of this book?

What pulled you in?

How did the author pull you in?

What kept you reading?

Did you identify with the main character?

Was the conflict enough to keep you turning the pages?

On the other hand, think about a book you didn’t like or stopped reading a few pages or chapters in.

What did you hate about the book?

Was it something to do with the plot or couldn’t you connect to the characters?

What about pacing?

Did the story go on and on without actually getting to the actual story?

I know we should read just for the sheer joy of it, but if you want to be an author, read books with these questions in the back of your mind. I can guarantee that you’ll improve your skill and even avoid a rejection letter.

Writing How Tos Writing Tips

4 Comments Leave a comment

  1. I’ve started analysing my recreational reading more nowadays, especially where it pertains to helping my craft, and I had no idea where to start. These questions are real useful for that purpose. Thanks for sharing!

  2. I loved the memory you started with in this post! The visits to your local library with your dad sound like my visits with my two daughters – since the lockdown in the UK (where we live) we have missed visiting the library more than anything else and can’t wait for them to re-open. Great post : )

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