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Reply To: Controversial Opinion: “Reading makes your writing better” is bad advice

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

#137380
Josiah DeGraaf
@josiah

Thanks for starting this discussion @LRC and @Shannon! My sentiments align more with @noah-cochran on this one, though. While I do agree that it’s too much to say that your writing will “suffer” if you aren’t constantly reading books, I rarely hear even bestselling/award-winning authors suggest that they’ve “made it” and don’t need additional growth in the craft. There’s definitely a law of diminishing turns at play here, but I think Noah hit the nail on the head with this sentence:

“I do not read because I think I’ll learn something new, nor do I do it as any sort of research. As I said, I do it to have the flow and rhythm of good prose and good stories constantly going through my head, and to possibly extended my ideas and lexicon.”

While there can be times during the drafting process where it’s better not to read books in your specific sub-genre for some writers, I think there’s a lot of value in regularly reading books just to be keeping yourself in the right mindset and rhythm as Noah said. Yes, you’re probably not going to be learning anything dramatically new if you’ve already studied the craft for a while. But perhaps there’s an original turn-of-phrase or a unique stylistic choice that inspires you.

It’s also useful simply for purposes of keeping tabs on your genre and what’s selling. Different trends come and go, and so reading in your genre is helpful to know what readers are currently interested in and which tropes may be becoming more stale over time.

So personally for myself, I still find it very useful to be regularly reading books (not always in an intentional “learn the writing craft” sort of a way, but still in a way that helps me as a writer) and would recommend that writers have a habit of reading regularly (not necessarily consistently… but at least regularly).

Lit fanatic. Eclectic reader. Theology nerd. Writing fantasy at https://josiahdegraaf.com

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