Reading Like a Writer

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That reading leads to better writing is a tried and true sentiment. It’s as easy as picking up a book and making note of the phrases and sections that draw us in. The more difficult feat is deciding what to read. Or is it?

Take the book you’re reading now, for instance. Is it a classic from one of those dead white guys that the literary world loves? Well, great! Those works are important. But if you’re reading the latest best seller or a novel from a new indie author, don’t fret. Those works are important, too.

It doesn’t matter what you read as long as you enjoy it. More importantly, are you getting something out of it? Maybe the description of the rusted car on page 96 is so vivid that you can feel the oxidized flakes crumbling off beneath your touch. Perhaps the voice of the novel is so strong that you simply can’t put it down. Whatever element it is, no matter the genre, if you love it, it’s important and you, as a writer, can glean something from it.

So, take notes. Ask yourself why the passage speaks to you. Is it the imagery? The voice? Humor? Analyze works that are similar in style to those you write or would like to write.

The most important thing is to enjoy what you’re reading. If you can’t enjoy it, you can’t get much out of it… except a list of things not to do.

Live. Love. Write.

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