Sunday, April 2, 2017

Read, Read, Read

If you want to be a good writer, you have to be a good reader.  I can't stress this enough.  I was reminded of this point recently with the number of people I've run into who've declared they have the next great American novel in their head and need only the time to bring it out.  They've all, without exception, asked me how to do that, so as I've gone over my process, I've asked them how often they read as well.

The most common response has been, "I don't have the time to do that."

"Then you don't have the time to be a good writer," I reply.

You can't just delve in and think you learned enough in a college writing course to make something folks will want to read.  Good writing takes time to hone, and you need examples.  There is no go-to for who to read - it all depends on how you like to write.  Beyond that, you should read more than your favorite authors so you can see how others get a point across.  Maybe you'll find some of what not to do as well.

But you must read.  You need to know how others tell a story others want to hear.  You cannot just start writing and think you'll produce anything more than what your family will look at(and even then, they're only being nice).  You're just not that good.  None of us is.  We need to learn, and reading is the only way to do that.

So read.

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