Friday, November 6, 2009

Read A Lot, Write A Lot

No, that isn’t my line but one borrowed from Stephen King in his book, On Writing: A Memoir Of The Craft. Reading is essentially what makes a writer, write, and it always surprises me when people say- I love writing, but I don’t read much (actually, I haven’t heard anyone say that, but I have heard of it being told). How would you know of the mysteries of Egypt without reading about them ? (Please don’t say the Discovery Channel, though I do love it! ;) Or delve into murders aboard trains, planes and old English manors with an Alfred Hitchcock novel. I don’t read Stephen King’s books much, but I do know what he says about writing- and that comes because I enjoy reading.

Reading helps your writing to improve and here’s how:

It helps you understand your genre or niche: All writers should have a niche, even generalist writers. By reading about topics you are interested in and want to write about, you’ll learn how to create the required structure, sentence flow and particular terminology which may (or may not) apply.

It helps you build a better command of the language: Read in the language you will be writing and you’ll build up your vocabulary, learn to identify grammar and sentence syntaxes and improve your writing style.

It acts as an idea bank: Reading can stir up the imagination and allows you to come up with ideas you may not have previously thought of. Lacking blog ideas? Pick up a book or read through online blogging sites. Need to pitch an idea to your local magazine or newspaper? Browse through catalogues, brochures and online newsroom sites. You never know when or where an idea will strike, but reading certainly helps speed up the process.

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Freelance writer Usha Krishnan Sliva has years of article and copywriting experience. To get more free tips and writing ideas, subscribe to her ezine-Getting It Write on or sign up for her course, Article Writing And Selling 101 on


Glynis said...

I have changed my reading genre, and it has opened up my world. It was a challenge at first to ignore my comfy genre, but I am glad I did.

Usha Krishnan Sliva said...

What have you begun reading? I enjoy reading pretty much anything and have known to turn to my kindergartener's books in desperation ;) Thank God for free newspapers delivered to our compound! They make for super reading when there's nothing else. If I'm buying a book, some of my favourite authors include Terry Prachett, Christian Jacq, Douglas Preston/Lincoln Child, Elizabeth Peters and Alexander McCall Smith to name a few.