Step 2: Read Your Brains Out

Just Keep Reading:
Read like there’s no tomorrow

Here we go. Another way to becoming a better writer. 

Apart from being told to write sometime everyday, another piece of advice that gets passed around a lot is that writer’s need to read. Read all day every day if you can. If you can’t, set aside some reading time. Instead of TV after work, curl up with a book and read for 30 minutes. Take a book with you to work and read on your lunch break. In his book On Writing, Steven King even suggests keeping a book with you at all times and read whenever you have a free second – in line at the grocery store, waiting for someone who is meeting you for lunch… Also, King suggests that audio books can count, so listen to them in the car. That’s pretty much the reason I have a library card now. I can’t afford audio books all the time, so checking them out is soooo much better.

But, why should you read all the time? Here’s what our list master Chuck Wendig has to say: 

“The world is home to — *does some quick math on fingers, toes, testicles, nipples, and teeth* — 45 smajillion books. Each of them often containing somewhere north of 50,000 words. And new books hit the atmosphere every day. You do not need to read all of these books. But you should act as if that is indeed your task, carving your way through the world’s cumulative body of the written word one tome at a time. If you want to write, you’re coming in at the ground level of these 45 smajillion books written by 33 fnuhzillion different writers. You are a but a mote in the reader’s eye. You want to compete? Read. Learn what other writers are doing. Absorb it with that schnapps-laden sponge you call a brain.”

See what others are doing. I mean, they are published so they have to be doing something right. Look at how these published writers weave their story together. To really notice that, if you’re like me, you’ll have to read a book at least twice: Once to get the plot and once to see how the writer builds and shapes the story. Try and pay attention to the logic within the story and how a particular author handles dialogue and characterization. Look at your favorite writers and try and figure out not only why they are your favorites but how they’ve accomplished that. 

2 thoughts on “Step 2: Read Your Brains Out

  1. Hey, this is really great advice. I have heard it before and as a result have made it my ambition to make sure I have read all of the classics. I never thought of re-reading a favourite book though, great idea! Thanks x

  2. I'm so glad that you've found it helpful! I need to make a bigger effort to read more of the classics as well. Hope you keep coming back and keep reading!

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