Every now and then, I like to read writing advice just to see what authors and others in the industry are saying about the craft of writing. I usually find myself astounded by the sheer volume and variety of advice out there. With all the rules for how to introduce settings, describe characters, plot and structure novels, and everything else, I often thought about what piece of advice I would most want to follow.
The answer to that question is any piece of advice that tells me to read. I find reading to be a central part of the writing process. A great novel can offer endless amounts of inspiration and help any writer tap into their own imagination. Below are five pieces of advice I enjoy that all deal with the importance of reading for writers:
If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have the time (or the tools) to write. Simple as that.
Read, read, read. Read everything — trash, classics, good and bad, and see how they do it. Just like a carpenter who works as an apprentice and studies the master. Read! You’ll absorb it. Then write. If it’s good, you’ll find out. If it’s not, throw it out of the window.
Indeed, learning to write may be part of learning to read. For all I know, writing comes out of a superior devotion to reading.
Cram your head with characters and stories. Abuse your library privileges. Never stop looking at the world, and never stop reading to find out what sense other people have made of it. If people give you a hard time and tell you to get your nose out of a book, tell them you’re working. Tell them it’s research. Tell them to pipe down and leave you alone.
You need to read. You can’t be a writer if you’re not a reader. It’s the great writers who teach us how to write.
What pieces of writing advice do you find important?