“Use the right word, not its second cousin.” – Mark Twain
There are two ways to become a better writer: write a lot and read a lot. Reading and writing are inseparable. The better writers have a tendency to be exceptional readers, and better readers can produce exceptional writing.
A writer who doesn’t read is like a musician who doesn’t listen to music or a filmmaker who doesn’t watch films. It is impossible to do good work without experiencing the good work that has been gone before.
A well-read writer has a better vocabulary (refer to Twain’s quote above), recognizes the nuances of language, and distinguishes between poor and quality writing.
Author and writing teacher, Roz Morris, has a great take on this. “Reading exposes us to other styles, other voices, other forms, and other genres of writing. Importantly, it exposes us to writing that’s better than our own and helps us to improve. Reading—the good and the bad—inspires you.”
Another writer you may have heard of, Stephen King, said: “Can I be blunt on this subject? If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have the time (or the tools) to write. Simple as that. “
Reading helps us make connections to our own experiences and emotions so reading makes you a better writer and a better communicator.
Nothing inspires us as writers, whether it’s writing a letter, a journal entry, a report or the next great American novel, like reading someone else’s words.
Read, read, read. Read everything—trash, classics, good and bad, and see how they do it. Just like a carpenter who works as an apprentice and studies the master. Read! You’ll absorb it. Then write. If it is good, you’ll find out. If it’s not, throw it out the window. – William Faulkner
By the way, there was this guy who wrote 10 puns and entered them all in a pun contest. He figured with 10 entries he couldn’t lose. As they were reading the list of winners he was really hoping one of his puns would win, but unfortunately, no pun in ten did.
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