If You Want To Be a Better Writer, Read More Books
In my line of work, I have the privilege of learning and being educated and entertained while I work. Why? Because I am in the book business and love it! I have had the pleasure of meeting and assisting Authors to publish their work for several years now and it is always exciting. The best writers that have come through my publishing door are also avid readers. I have made a direct connection with readers and good writers. The more a person reads the better they write. I recently came across a blog post by another publisher that was interesting to me. It seems that my assessment was accurate and publishers agree, reading is important. I will copy part of the blog post here:
The Successful People I Know Are Voracious Readers
By Steven Spatz
“All successful people I know have one thing in common: they never stop learning.
That’s why so many CEOs, thought leaders, and politicians read so frequently. There’s a limit to how much time, money, and effort people are able to dedicate to formal education, which is why reading voraciously, as part of a dedicated personal routine, is one keystone of lifelong personal development.
I call it personal development because a big part of what you learn from reading is about yourself. I’m a student of writing and of words — reading helps me understand who I am, how I should approach my writing, and what I want to focus my attention on outside of my literary ambitions.
But that, of course, is not the only benefit of reading.
Reading keeps your mind balanced and sharp
The most successful people are both scientists and artists — they utilize both the left and right brain. As such, they consciously nurture both sides of the coin, often through reading.
One approach is to actively read both fiction and nonfiction. This is advice I give regularly: immerse yourself in the worlds and adventures of books like James Clavell’s Shogun: The Epic Novel of Japan, and educate yourself with biographies and intelligent opinions — such as Dwight Eisenhower’s account of World War II, Crusade in Europe, which I’m reading now.
Reading instills discipline
Reading doesn’t just strengthen or nurture both parts of our brain — it strengthens more intangible skills, too. For one, reading can make you more disciplined and foster an appreciation for learning and growth.
How, exactly? Well, people who make the decision to read everyday are actively deciding to engage, improve, and challenge their brains instead of doing more passive activities, like surfing YouTube videos or binge-watching Netflix…
Reading benefits your business
There’s one last benefit that most people don’t associate with reading, and that’s the manner in which it can actively benefit your professional life.
For one thing, reading encourages curiosity. And people who are curious are, more often than not, high achievers. Understanding this, you yourself can use reading to feed your curiosity and acquire more knowledge.
But you can also apply this awareness to elements of your business life, like honing your hiring practices. At BookBaby, when we’re hiring a potential candidate, I always ask, “What are you reading right now?” or “What have you read in the last six months?” I know reading behavior can be a barometer in measuring a person’s level of curiosity, discipline, and zeal for learning — and curious, disciplined people who are hungry to learn are the sort I want in my company.”
I am one who takes in a lot of information on a daily basis. There are times it seems that my brain is like a sponge absorbing everything that is fed to it. Yes, it can be tiring to the mind and body to continually read. I think that is why Solomon wrote in the book of Ecclesiastes: “My child, there is something else to watch out for. There is no end to the writing of books, and too much study will wear you out.” (Ecc. 12:12)
My suggestion to anyone who would like to improve their writing skills and not have to spend several hours a day reading a lot of books is to just focus on quality rather than quantity. Opt for reading books that are the old classics, rather than the modern-day novels. Gather a few great books such as Don Quixote, Hamlet or Moby Dick and read for 25 to 45 minutes a day. When you are finished reading for the day spend a few minutes contemplating the material you read. Within a short period of time, you will feel inspired to write and you will notice that your writing improves with each book you read. Also, it is good to read books that are in a similar genre as what you write about, but it is not necessary to only read those genres. For instance, Children’s Book Writers read all sorts of genres to help give them the inspiration to create new stories.
I hope this little tip is helpful.
Happy reading and happy writing my fellow writers.