Forums › Fiction › General Writing Discussions › Controversial Opinion: “Reading makes your writing better” is bad advice › Reply To: Controversial Opinion: “Reading makes your writing better” is bad advice
I haven’t the time, nor the current mental capacity to actually duel you on this one, but my opinion is that writing is like life…you never stop growing, and you never stop learning from those greater than you.
As a writer, you can study writing theory all you want, but it’s reading that keeps your story-soul growing. I think it’d be a weak writer who told themselves they could never hear someone else’s story again, and still write good books. There is always room for improvement.
Stories are like hobbits, “You can learn all that there is to know about their ways in a month, and yet after a hundred years they can still surprise you. (Gandalf quote)” It’s like watching your favorite movie for the 500th time. There’s still parts that give you goosebumps, and there’s still parts you never noticed before. As long as you’re reading, you’ll be learning.
Professional American football players watch hours and hours of video of other teams, and themselves, playing football. They don’t do it because they don’t know about football…they do it because they do know about football, because it helps them play smarter and better.
I know quite a bit about writing theory and grammar and English, but L.M. Montgomery’s wit never ceases to amaze me, Tolkien’s descriptions never cease to leave me in awe, and Andrew Peterson’s characters never cease to make me cry. Of course, my reading doesn’t (usually) steal my writing time. It adds to it. It makes me smarter, and better, so that the genius of classics can (hopefully) become instinct to me.
Personally, I don’t read to become a better writer. I read because I love stories, and it makes me a better writer whether I like it or not. Sometimes, enjoying the journey is as important as reaching the destination.
Not all those who wander are lost.