Why Writers Need to Read

by Hannah Brown, jaBlog! Blogger


Larry L. King once said: “Write. Rewrite. When not writing or rewriting, read. I know of no shortcuts.”

To me, this is pretty good advice.

Most of you probably started writing because you loved to read. Perhaps there was a book you wanted to see on the shelf, but it wasn’t around, so you decided to write it. Perhaps you just liked the idea of writing and so had a go at it. Whatever it was that made you start writing, in one way or another it was probably connected to books. Yet people are reading less and less nowadays, and even if you write you probably “don’t have time” to read.

I call rubbish on that.

Sure, your schedule might be absolutely packed a few days a week. Perhaps you have sport practice or extra classes. Maybe you take a couple of hours out of every day to do some writing. But every day means you’re so tired you can’t keep your eyes open. What about the weekend? And, not every day needs everything crammed into it.

Cut half an hour of your writing time to read.

Reading, I believe, is incredibly important, not only to your mental wellbeing, but also to your writing and therefore your passion. Do you think a sportsman just sits around when they’re not playing a game? I highly doubt it! They’re probably watching their sport on TV or reading a book about the greats.

So how and what can you learn from reading? Well, you might learn what you like and don’t like, and therefore you won’t or will use these techniques in your own work, perhaps by writing a list. Writing book reviews of books helps you to process the information, and reading them can help you to understand exactly what readers want. Reading books in your preferred writing genre will teach you certain techniques to use, such as how to create a believable setting if you love to write historical fiction.

Not only does reading help you in techniques and do’s and don’ts, it greatly increases your vocabulary. Unlike speaking in everyday life, writing is more of a craft, and any craft has a certain degree of elegance and sophistication. Writing is no different. You have to work hard to be a master, so you may as well get going now.

If you only get through a couple of books a month, you’re still working on your craft. If you’re suffering with the dreaded writer’s block, or perhaps you’ve just finished a project and are having some time off before starting the next one, read. Read what you like, what you don’t like, branch out and try something new, and above all keep on reading.

“If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have the time (or the tools) to write. Simple as that,” said author Stephen King.

I agree wholeheartedly. Writers need to read.


Want to read in good company and stay motivated? Check out Hannah’ jaBlog! article on how to set up a book club.

Hannah Brown

About Hannah Brown

Currently studying at sixth form college, Hannah likes to write pretty much anything. She has written a novella, is currently writing about 5 novels, and writes scripts and short stories on the side. Aside from writing, she enjoys hanging out with her friends, adventuring in the outdoors, and reading.

2 comments on “Why Writers Need to Read

  1. Sana Hameed

    Great advice Hannah! Currently I’m in the middle of three books all of which I would highly recommend. Murder in Retrospect by Agatha Christie, The Sword of Summer by Rick Riordan, and The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne. They’re very different reads but very interesting all the same. Reading does indeed influence a writer’s craft heavily so by reading diverse types of books a writer can expand their horizons. They are not limited to one genre and can explore other interests. Thank you for writing this piece!

  2. Lennox

    So true!!!!
    People really do have to read!!!!!

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