Reading To Become A Better Writer

I have a question for the w.a members out there (and write freely, too, of course) - do you feel that reading more (be it books, longform articles, lengthy blog posts) helps with your ability/creativity as a writer? I find myself lacking in the reading department (esp books) other than r.w.a and a few feeds I subscribe to on Feedly.

Does active/regular reading improve your creative process? I am curious what anyone has to say. Thanks.

TMO

Personally, I think reading helps out a ton. I feel like when you read a book you live with the author for a bit. I believe you can absorb the style of some writers in that process and, if you are intentional, have that come out in your own writing.

If anything, it also gives you material to write about. A lot of posts on my blog are comprised of commenting on passages from what I’m reading. This helps me internalize books a lot better than simply highlighting or copying quotes.

1 Like

Thanks. I agree that reading has helped me absorb writing styles in the past, and will again in the future. And by writing about what I’ve read is similar to what I have done when studying a subject (for school or just for fun).

Any specific recommendations on books (or longform articles) you have read that has personally made you a better writer? I am always looking for new material.

TMO

I think the best quote I read on reading was something like, “reading allows you to borrow someone’s brain for awhile”. I think reading books is crucial for expanding our minds and our creativity.

Here are some more reasons to read.

Reading is crucial for me. You’re bound to be unconsciously influenced by what you read. But it’s also good to look at the technicalities of someone else’s craft after you’ve discovered something you like.

I agree. Reading more perspectives/different styles would definitely improve (or at least influence) my writing abilities. Thanks.

Pick up The Overstory by Richard Powers. Also My Struggle by Knausgård. And then read Independent People by Laxness.

These are all novels. Longform.org has great nonfiction articles. Check out Home of the Brave podcast for excellent radio writing.

Good luck!

Nice recommendations @bodyofwater! I started Overstory but hadn’t gotten around to continuing it. Beautiful writing so far though.

If there’s a book I’d recommend it’d be neurologist Oliver Sacks’ memoir On the Move. Along with the crazy life he led, it’s a great look into how someone becomes a better writer over time. Throughout the memoir he’s constantly referring to his writing practices and the countless times that he’s lost manuscripts for books: