Do we write better when we read more? I think we all know the answer to that. Among other studies sociologists and researchers conduct, they have also found that people who read a lot since their childhood years grow up to be excellent writers.
There is also another thing to consider: reading and writing are interrelated. The more we read the better we write, but it works the other way around too. When we write a lot, we develop our ability to read thoroughly and skim through texts easier.
Do passionate readers make the best writers? Here is the paradox. They don’t. The truth is that writing requires some extent of imagination, ability to filter information and thoughts, and personal style. What’s true though is that extensive reading has amazing effects on our writing performance. And by reading, I mean everything. Despite the fact that a writer might be interested in a specific genre, it’s always more helpful if he/she reads all genres. When we read newspapers, magazine articles, online posts, academic papers, literature, poetry and everything coming our way, we learn more (and don’t even know it).
Why reading is important?
We know by instinct whether a text is good or not, and so we can make judgments on our own texts. Our overall learning abilities grow. We become better in grammar and syntax, learn new words, read new expressions, understand better a particular subject, view a specific argument from a different perspective and enhance our ability to analyze a text better.
Writers are often influenced by what they read. It’s not necessarily a bad thing – unless you just copy another writer. It’s often helpful, especially to new writers or those trying to discover their own skills and style. After all, writers are artists. They need a muse! Books can do that to us! And that’s why we should always read with a special interest in the content, even if we have to read a text and don’t read out of pleasure. Eventually, reading becomes pleasant and also a habit.
Do people still read?
Although there is no time to read, the truth is that people still read. We can see them around us in the tube or bus. There is definitely a large percentage that won’t even keep books at home, but the question is whether writers or want-to-be-writers read! The bad news is that many of them fail to do so. Some also feel that they have nothing new to learn because they wrote a book or two. The worse group of writers is the online ones who are under the impression that the limited time they spend skimming blog posts is enough to compensate for their non-reading habits.
Well, let me remind all writers (experienced or not) – myself included – that reading is a must. Whether it is a fiction story or not, and whether we read hard-copy books or e-books, reading is still reading. Words will wake us up, travel through our little brain cells, and eventually be used. Reading is THE tool for young and experienced writers because the language changes and there is always a good story out there waiting for us to dive in its words, grasp the meaning, adopt the rules and enhance our knowledge.
If we want to write, we should read first. It’s a lovely habit!