Monday, April 25, 2016

Benefits of Reading

Happy Monday! Hope you are doing well. It's been busier than usual here, so I apologize if this post is a bit scattered. Have been thinking about this topic, so thought I'd offer a few thoughts upon which to reflect.

Thanks so much for coming by to visit. It's always good to see you! :)


Why should writers read? Benefits include mental stimulation, vocabulary building, and expanding our knowledge and worldview. It also helps improve grammar and critical thinking skills, focus and memory, reduces stress,  and has entertainment value. Reading helps us sample genres and illustrates good writing techniques, from plots and pacing to article elements and more.

In his post Why Writers Need to Read if They Want to Be Good, Jeff Goins says, 

"Nothing inspires a writer like reading someone else’s words."

Do you agree? I find great inspiration this way, and often have layers of ideas sprouting as I read. Words can inspire and keep us writers going. 

If I don't know the author of a book, post, or article, I focus more on the words versus who is saying it. This isn't a bad thing; we won't always have the privilege of meeting that author. (And the words of course, are often the main reason we're reading it anyway.) As a writer though, I know that reading isn't just about absorbing words. It's about a writer sharing, informing, and challenging. There are two sides to this, and being a reader helps being a writer. Make sense?

Jeff Goins elaborates further, saying we're in danger of running out of words if we don't read. This is an interesting point. I don't want to be the writer who runs out of words, do you? Reading makes our words richer, enhancing the value of our work. 

A Quick Announcement

The Coffeehouse for Writers has a new site! Classes begin in early May and topics include blogging, creating characters, freelancing, writing for the Chicken Soup series, boot camp for writers, and more. Instructors are Jennifer Brown Banks, Linda O'Connell, Victoria Grossack, Serena Wadhwa, Diana Bocco, and me (I'm in charge of boot camp!). Check out the offerings and details here.

Why do you read? Do you agree with Jeff Goins? What's on your spring reading list?


Happy writing,
Karen


Photo credit; Free Images

22 comments :

  1. Hi Karen - couldn't agree more ... but I'm certainly not a good exponent - my reading list goes to the moon and back (I reckon ... just large otherwise!).

    Other things on my mind at the moment ... but I keep reading articles and enlightening myself ... cheers Hilary

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  2. It worries me when someone says they don't read much. They are missing out on a wealth of knowledge.

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  3. Hilary,
    You're not alone,y reading list is over the top too! So many books, so little time...lol Hope all is well. :)

    Diane,
    Yes, that's concerning, isn't it? Young and old, writer or not, all benefit from reading. :)

    Happy writing,
    Karen

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  4. Reading spurs the imagination and takes our minds to places we couldn't otherwise go.

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  5. Hi Karen! I remember my writing instructor saying that there are no new ideas, just new takes on them. I think reading is important for me to relax!, but also to be inspired by ideas that I can put my own spin on. Of course, I could always read more. I tend to run in streaks, reading multiple books, and then not reading at all. But I always enjoy it!
    Blessings,
    Ceil

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  6. Alex,
    It does indeed! And it's great fun, isn't it? :)

    Ceil,
    I agree with your writing instructor. We bring our own perspective to these ideas.:) I'm like you with reading sometimes. When I am really busy, I don't read quite as much but make up for it later!

    Happy writing,
    Karen

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  7. So agree with you, Karen. I think everyone--including just readers--should read. I had a reading crisis where I had trouble focusing after my husband died and I felt like I lost a part of myself. Thankfully, I recently got over it and am really enjoying reading and finding it comforting. It's been such a part of my life since I was a kid.

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  8. Ever since 5th grade, I've been hooked on reading. Reading quality fiction enables me to improve my skills via the "spoonful of sugar" method. Instead of textbooks, you see it being demonstrated. Hmm, thanks for the idea for a blog post. :)

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  9. Nothing inspires me more than reading a good book. You're so right, Karen. I am always shocked when I hear writers say they have no time for reading. Duh.

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  10. Writers must read! They simply cannot have an excuse not to. Reading helps me so much and it always inspires me.

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  11. Natalie,
    I think everyone, young and old, benefits from reading. This doesn't mean they must be voracious readers, just read in their comfort zone, you know? So glad you are getting back to reading. :)

    Susan,
    I was a young reader too. My mom, a teacher, surrounded and encouraged us with books. So glad she did! :)

    Joylene,
    I hear you, me too! Books can do so much - inform, take us places, the list goes on right? :) Yes, writers should make time to read, that is a no brainer.

    Marja,
    I agree! It is a constant source of inspiration and information! :)

    Happy writing,
    Karen

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  12. I agree on all accounts. Reading voraciously made me interested in writing in the first place, and then came all of these added benefits like gaining vocabulary, learning about style and voice, etc.

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  13. I can't not read. I'm always greedy for a great story to lose myself in, so I guess greed is my motivation.

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  14. Medeia,
    Growing up, I was a reader too. I'm thinking that got things rolling for me as well. We learn so much through reading, don't we? :)

    Lee,
    I know, I can't not either! :) Good stories, well, there's just nothing like them!

    Happy writing,
    Karen

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  15. Oh, yes, I'm always reading at least three books at a time. I just finished a novel by Beverly Lewis, am reading Mary DeMuth's newest, Worth Living, and a book on prayer by Cecil Murphey. I grow as a person, a Christian, and a writer the more I read. I heard an evangelist say once, 'If you want to be a leader, be a reader." I like that.

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  16. Reading is my favorite pastime after writing. I read in my own genre to see what other Romance authors are doing, and I read anything and everything else because I love to be blown away when I come across something that wows me. This recently happened with Sue Monk Kidd's "The Invention of Wings." Ohmigosh...brilliant!

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  17. Jen,
    Yes, I also have several books going at once too. Books do help us grow, you're right! :) So glad to access to so many.

    Lisa,
    Mine too! Love to read and must confess that sometimes when I am supposed to be writing, I am reading. lol :) A book that "wows" us - yes, what a treat!

    Happy writing and reading,
    Karen

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  18. I agree with you and Jeff. I think reading enriches our writing in several ways. As a writer, I often go back to books and re-read them to find out why they worked so well.

    Thanks for this great post, Karen!

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  19. Reading is such an important part of my life; I can't imagine a life without books.

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  20. Tyrean,
    I do the same thing. :) Love to read, and quite often the writer in me is riding along the way, checking things out!

    Donna,
    I've been thinking about you lately - glad you stopped by! :) Life without books - yes, unthinkable!

    Happy weekend,
    Karen

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  21. Reading is probably my favorite hobby on earth. It really stimulates my mind and awakens me - particularly a well-written mystery :)

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  22. Keith,
    It is a great way to spend your time, isn't it? It's one of my favorites too. :)
    Happy reading,
    Karen

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