Being a writer isn’t just about writing: it’s about improving your skills and learning along the way. But some writers struggle with reading. Why should writers read books?
One great way to start writing better is to read more. Reading automatically shapes your ability to write and helps you learn how to write better.
But the question is, how does it help? Why should writers read? Here are a few reasons why.
Reading Helps Shape Your Writing Style
One of the main ways reading can help improve your writing skills is that it allows you to notice patterns in other writing. And by patterns, I don’t just mean different plot ideas. I mean sentence structure, format, character thought process, etc.
Even without paying any attention to these things as you’re reading, they will automatically shape your writing style. So if you read lots of good books, you’ll start to write good books!
Although this is most definitely true, especially for young minds still shaping, don’t expect something like this to happen overnight. Just because you read one really good book, that doesn’t mean you will write precisely like it the day after.
You may still have noticed some interesting ideas from that book, and it may have inspired you, but to acquire your own style, you have to keep reading different books continually, which will help shape your voice.
Your writing style may change over time, as well. And there’s nothing wrong with that. If you start becoming interested in reading fantasy instead of historical fiction, then you’ll probably start writing more fantasy. Again, there’s nothing at all wrong with changing your style. Change can be a good thing.
Also, the more variety of books you read, the more your writing style will develop uniquely. If you read some mystery books, fantasy books, and drama books, you’ll have lots more great ideas for how you could mix some of these genres and make your written voice unique.
Variety in your book is a good thing. You want a large mix of vocabulary, sentence structure, plot, and pretty much everything. Reading a variety of books only helps with that.
Reading Helps Inspire You
Another beneficial aspect of reading is that you’ll find yourself inspired by reading a good book. This is especially true for fantasy books and books with more complicated plots where there’s room for other side stories.
Fiction can be inspiring, but non-fiction can be as well! So if you find an inspiring non-fiction book, there’s nothing wrong with that!
Inspiration is always a good thing for writers. So many people out there struggle with writer’s block. One way to overcome that is by reading good books. So get out there, and READ!
Reading Helps You Develop Opinions
When you read a book, whether it’s good or bad, it helps you develop an opinion on what you think about certain things in the book. You may read the book and believe that it’s a great book, and you’ll have to think about the reason behind why you like that book, especially if you’re recommending it to someone else.
It’s good to create your own opinions on the difference between good and bad writing because it helps you make your writing the best it can be. When you read a book, you can come up with things that you would have changed if you were the author, or if you wouldn’t change anything, what kinds of things you liked about that book.
This can help you get an idea of how you want your book to look. Also, make sure to read more popular books because if lots of people liked those books, you can copy some of their strategies and use them in yours. Then you have a greater possibility of your book becoming popular too.
Reading Helps Improve Grammar, Spelling, and Vocabulary
If you read more, it automatically helps your grammar, spelling, and vocabulary become better. The fewer grammar mistakes you have in your writing, the easier it will be when you’re editing, and the better your book will be when it’s published.
Again, this is something that happens automatically when you read. You don’t have to try to notice the grammar in the books you are reading to improve your skills. That doesn’t mean you can’t try to pay attention to these things.
When you read more books and then go to write, you’ll start visualizing the correct place to put punctuation, the right way to spell things, and better synonyms for words. If you see these things in the books you’re reading; then you’ll see them in your writing too.
So, why should writers read? There are so many reasons, but the basic ones are that reading helps shape your style, your opinions, your inspiration, and your skills. The point is, reading books, especially good ones, strengthens your ability to write better. We can learn from books, even when we don’t realize we’re learning.
My challenge for you this week is simple: to read more! Set a goal for yourself of how many books you want to read per month: maybe it’s one, or two, or ten, or even fifteen! Whatever you feel like you can reasonably accomplish.
Was this article helpful to you? Why do you think writers should read? What are some things you have learned from reading books? How does reading books benefit you more? Leave a comment below!