Does Reading Affect Writing?

This is an old question, and it’s a complicated question: Does reading affect writing?; Does reading make you a better writer?

As I’m sure you’ve noticed, I haven’t made a lot of original posts recently: I’ve mostly been reviewing books. I’ve been doing a lot of reading this summer, and it’s hard to tell if it’s made me a better writer. Honestly, how could I ever know if I was a better writer? I can judge my writing all I want, but my opinion isn’t the one that ultimately matters.

When you read a book, you are absorbing ideas and introducing yourself to different styles. Style and thinking about ideas are two parts of being a writer, so in a way, reading does help make you a better writer. If I read a different novel every day, am I going to absorb diction and themes? Yes. I think the biggest reason people think you need to read in order to be a good writer is that reading is learning.

Do I think you need to read in order to write well? No. You could never read a novel in your life, but you could still have a gift for crafting words. For me, reading does play a crucial role: Reading inspires me to write. It is a constant reminder that hey, you’ve got that unfinished novel sitting on your harddrive, you should work on it.

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4 Responses to Does Reading Affect Writing?

  1. Good thoughts. “Do you need to read to be a good writer” is something I’ve debated about a lot because I don’t read nearly as much as I probably should… I’m very busy writing! But, I definitely agree that reading gives you ideas – and it’s extremely motivating. Since I’m a screenwriter, watching movies sometimes works too.

    (And I just noticed your search bar… It’s cracking me up!)

  2. literarypress says:

    Very interesting question. But you have to love to read in order to write. That’s like building a house on a weak foundation. Great blog by the way 🙂

    • B.S. Meyers says:

      Do you have to love reading to write? I started writing because I was fed up with the books that kept getting shoved in my face. I honestly believed that there were no books I would ever like, so I decided to write some that I did.

      • literarypress says:

        Oh yes, I love reading! I’m a crazy reader. This is where I discovered my dream to become a writer. It’s where I discovered and tap into my imagination and creative side. Yeah, I’m sure there’s lots of books out there that are not great. hahaha. But there’s also some that there are inspiring. But we all have our own ‘toolbox’ that we turn to for inspiration. 🙂

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