Thursday, December 12, 2013

Do You Read?

Have you heard the story where a newbie writer told a veteran writer that they did not have the time to read books? The newbie didn't think reading was necessary for a successful writing career. The veteran disagreed, and pointed out how reading is key to expanding one's world.

What do you think? Do you think reading is an essential tool for writers?

I believe it offers exposure to genres, styles, and writing - good and bad. Reading provides a better scope and grasp of language, grammar, and usage. It offers varying perspectives, challenges us to think, and stretches the imagination. Another great perk is that it's an avenue to better communication, not just in written form, but verbal too.

Over the years I've noticed a difference reflected among my writing students who read and those who do not. No criticism intended; it's simply an observation. I encourage them all to read, telling them it is an easy way to help their writing and imagination grow.  

In short, I think we need to read to be effective writers. We shouldn't limit ourselves to favorite genres either. It's important to explore a variety, fiction and non, long and short, in books, periodicals, and online.

Consider Stephen King's words on the topic:

"...Can I be blunt on this subject? If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have the time (or the tools) to write. Simple as that.”

Our time to read may be limited, but the benefits are worth the effort.

For more insight on the correlation between reading and writing, check out Christian Fahey's thoughts on The Upside in this post, Reading and Its Importance for Writers.

What benefits do you gain from reading? What's on your to be read pile?

Happy weekend,

Karen
 

Image credit: Stock Exchange


 

31 comments :

  1. Reading strengthens those mental muscles. It exposes you to worlds and situations you might never encounter in real life. It just makes you a more well-rounded person.

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  2. Reading for pleasure often leads to inspiration to write for me. Hope you have a Merry Christmas, Karen.

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  3. So agree with you, Karen. Besides loving to read, I learn about writing from reading.

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  4. I absolutely believe that reading is essential for a writer. I know that reading books has greatly expanded my mind and also made writing seem much more natural to me.

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  5. Reading is absolutely essential to good writing. No brainer. I'm reading two books right now. One, a mystery, by PD James and the other is Godforsaken by Dinesh D'Sousa. Both excellent and filling me with fodder. Great reading begets great writing. Have a super weekend, Karen.

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  6. Reading has always been a release and stimulation of mine.
    I have been blessed that my kids have caught the reading bug also.

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  7. I read all the time. I'm currently reading "The Purpose Driven Life" by Rick Warren, and have a lot of other books in my "to be read" pile!

    I've read that quote you cite by Stephen King, and I remember another quote of his where he says that he reads constantly--while in waiting rooms, while on line, where ever he has a free moment. King notes that we have to make time to read so that we can strengthen our writing.

    Reading is a form of inspiration, too. I aspire to write as effortlessly as certain writers, and often study their sentence structure. Some authors can move us to tears or action, all with a sentence or two. Beautiful, isn't it?

    Enjoy the rest of your week, my friend!

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  8. I absolutely agree! Your post says it all :)

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  9. Alex,
    Well said! I agree completely. Somehow I knew you'd feel that way. :)

    Linda,
    That's an excellent point! I find my self thinking about plot lines and all sorts of things from reading material. :)

    Natalie,
    Me too! I've become more observant with writing styles too, ones I like and not and all that good stuff. :)

    Keith,
    That's another good point. I just think it fills our brains and becomes more of who we are and then flows out when we write. :)

    Susan,
    Oh yes, you are so right! Your comment makes me think of the sowing and reaping principle. Hadn't thought about it in those terms exactl. Good stuff! :)

    David,
    It really does do a lot for us, doesn't it? Entertainment, food for thought, teaching - so many benefits! Glad your kids have followed in your footsteps! :)

    Janette,
    I think I've seen Stephen's quote about that too. This is another great point. Making all our time productive when we can - such a good thing in the right balance. I too, study other writers style and structure. Such great benefits! Thanks, sweet friend. :)

    Rula,
    There are so many perks, aren't there? Thanks for coming by! :)

    Happy reading and writing,
    Karen

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  10. Reading is like doing homework for writers. I can never imagine a writer not reading.

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  11. Excellent point! And I appreciate the Stephen King quote, one I've never seen before. I just finished the latest Sue Grafton and am in the middle of A Voyage in the Yacht 'Sunbeam' by Lady Brassey.

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  12. Reading is the best thing ever :) I always feel happier with a book in my hands.

    Sarah Allen
    (From Sarah, With Joy>

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  13. I think in order to write one must read. It is important to get the feel for different genres and the way stories are told. I like to do a lot of reading in a genre that I am writing in because it helps me with sentence fluency and I like to see what else is out there.
    ~Jess

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  14. Rachna,
    I love that idea! I agree, I cannot imagine a writer not reading either! :)

    Jean,
    I just can't see not reading, you know? So many benefits. :) I do think King would be a good judge of this too.

    Sarah,
    Yes, it is! Can't imagine not reading. :) I like having a sizable TBR pile!

    Jess,
    You are so right. The benefits are endless, that's for sure! :)

    Happy reading and writing,
    Karen

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  15. I just finished a book yesterday that blew me away with their style. I learn how to better write by reading others' works--I learn and critique the book as well as turn my mind off and just enjoy!

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  16. Hi Karen! I think reading is really important to a writer. I agree with all your reasons that you list here, but I will also add that you can get all kinds of ideas through reading too. Something will strike you, and then your off dreaming about how to phrase it, to bring it to life. I love that!

    Happy Friday :)
    Ceil

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  17. I agree with you, King, and Alex. Reading is a necessity for a writer. It teaches us the tools of writing in an intuitive way, and helps expand our horizons. Thanks for the reminder (and since I read a bit more than intended today - for the lessening of guilt on that). :)

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  18. I agree, reading is important in order to be a better writer. When I don't read enough it shows in my writing, something I have been thinking about a lot lately. Time for me to pick up a book.:)

    Madison

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  19. Terri,
    You've got me curious as what book you're reading! I do the same thing when reading - I watch their style and all and sometimes just read. :)

    Ceil,
    You are so right! That is a great point and I love when that happens! :)

    Tyrean,
    It does offer so much for us writers, that's for sure! Yes, I think you are that much smarter for having read today! :)

    Madison,
    It is rather amazing and wonderful to see what writing can do, isn't it? :) Have fun reading!

    Happy weekend,
    Karen

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  20. Great post amigo! That quote should be every writer's creed. It should also be sent through the interwebs to all beginning writers. (If there was a way to do that. Santa Claus, maybe? *wink*)

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  21. I think a writer must be on the reader side of the equation. How else will they know what makes reading a book pleasurable and what will make a reader throw a book into the trash?

    I keep an eye out for how others write a solid action scene or create a backdrop for their characters. Does something pull me out of the story or make me skip parts? I want to learn from someone else's successes and boo-boos.

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  22. Yes! I fully agree. On my reading stack at the moment are "The October List" by Jeffery Deaver and "Accused" by Lisa Scottoline And I just finished Jean Ellen Whatley's memoir "Off the Leash."

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  23. What a shame that newbie writer thought reading a waste of time! :-( Reading is food for the soul!

    Take care
    x

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  24. I absolutely love reading!...and you are so right, I have learned to write better from this wonderful hobby! ;)

    Diana
    www.ManhattanImageandStyle.com
    New Blog Post: Tips to Relieve Stress This Holiday Season

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  25. Robyn,
    Thank you! Yes, it should be. You are so right, like always! :)

    Susan,
    This is so true. And I have read a few books I wanted to ditch. lol Not many, though. :) I'm always watching how writers handle things. Such a good way to learn! :)

    Lisa,
    Somehow I thought you might! :) Sounds like you have some good reading lined up!

    Old Kitty,
    Oh I agree, it is a shame! Such a wonderful world of books out there just waiting to be read! :)

    Diana,
    Me too! ) And I have learned much from reading others' blogs too, not just books. So much to learn! :)

    Happy reading,
    Karen

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  26. Hi Karen - I should read more .. but I learn so much and have so many books lined up - Christmas is going to be fun reading time!

    So pleased you enjoyed your time with your nephew .. and I love those snow shots!

    Cheers Hilary

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  27. Hilary,
    I hope you enjoy your time to read! :) Judging from your posts, I'd say you are pretty well read.
    Happy reading,
    Karen

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  28. I have always been a vor-a-cious reader. I just devour books. Mostly fiction because that's what lets my brain unplug. :)

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  29. Rhonda,
    Me too - have loved to read since I was young. I have my mother to thank for that. :) I'm with you; it does help me unplug too.
    Blessings,
    Karen

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  30. Karen, my reading (obsession!) has diminished drastically. Not sure why. LOVE the written word. Just don't take the time like I used to. My reading habit was so bad- I even got caned at school once for not putting my book away to resume lessons. I used to drown in my books- totally immersed in this wonderful world of words- this frustrated my mother too- as once I had a book in my hands I just HAD to finish it. Reading this BLOG jogged my memory- remembering walking to the library weekly choosing 5 books ( maximum allowed) and skipping home to read them. I have been given a book to read - The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce. It is sending out a magnetic force to be reckoned with. I think 2014 will be my comeback to reading books year......!!

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  31. Anita,
    I wonder if sometimes we cycle through this kind of thing depending on what else is going on in our lives, you know? Had to laugh at the magnetic force thing - I can relate. Some books just sit there and beg to be read, and soon!
    Happy New Year,
    Karen

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Thanks for stopping by! I appreciate your input. Have a blessed day!