Reading not only entertains, it enhances your experience through the written word.
Recently I’ve had a couple of friends ask me why it was so important to do a lot of reading in order to become a great writer. Shouldn’t novelists instead do a lot of writing in order to practice and hone our craft? I think my friends are secretly looking for an excuse to not feel so bad because they read very little.
I’m not sure if I got my point completely across when I summarised it simply: reading is like doing research and gaining exposure to what’s happening in the literary world.
Yes, it is also so much more. But to explain it better I’d lose their attention in detailing all the benefits of maintaining an interesting reading list (not to mention the fantastic entertainment value).
Shaking my head at a comment (and somewhat naïve one) that writers were essentially stealing ideas from what they read. I guess essentially it does influence us at times, feed our imagination – like how you get an idea from external stimuli. And unless you are outright plagiarising text, partaking in the art of reading for writing’s sake, has nothing to do with how an author creates prose.
I’d have to say that since deciding to embark on writing as a fulltime career, facts and tips garnered from reading widely, writing book reviews (and reading or watching on YouTube), has greatly improved my manuscript development.
It’s given me analytic tools in addition to opening my eyes to differing styles and tone within genres. I particularly love book reviews and the points the reader makes when something didn’t work for them – it’s gold for improving my own writing.
How do you go about choosing the books for your TBR pile?
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