We all know that most writers have a rapacious appetite for books. They devour, ingest, and consume books way more than the ordinary person. But why is that? Why is reading such a crucial aspect of writing? How does reading help you become a better writer? Today, we’ve compiled a list that answers exactly these questions. If you’re a writer struggling to understand just why you should devote your time to reading, or if you’re a reader who wants to know what impact it can have on your writing, or even if you’re neither – this is the post for you. This post will explain why reading is as important as writing for authors.


Reading helps you find your own voice as an author

As you keep reading books, you will realize what resonates with you and what doesn’t. A writer’s voice is his identity – it is something that distinguishes him from all other writers. That identity only comes from knowing yourself, from a literary perspective. What are your passions, what is your style of writing, and what is the message you want to convey to the world? These are answers you get by knowing your taste in books.

It helps you identify what you like and dislike

This may sound obvious, but it’s important. What genre of books do you like, what plot points and tropes and settings do you like are crucial. Especially so when it comes to choosing the themes, words and the plot for your writing. For instance, someone who loves to read mystery novels is probably not going to write a romance novel as compellingly. It boils down to this – reading is like a mirror. It’s an excellent tool for introspection – you see in it what you have within you. And that’s important.

It helps you get inspiration

Reading is perhaps the biggest source of inspiration for writers. It often happens that while reading, an idea, a phrase, a plot point or even a character hits so hard that it starts a series of echoes in your head. These are echoes of possibilities and ideas for your future writing. What you read deeply impacts what you write. Anything you love dearly becomes an inseparable part of you and it will show in your writing.

Reading helps you pick up the nuances of language

This is a practical reason writers read a lot. While reading, one comes across aspects of language that one may not have been aware of before. Reading gives you access to the fine-tuned parts of literature – the idioms, the richness and the weaknesses too. Observing closely how authors knit their words into a colourful tapestry and mould their sentences to fit their ideas is always helpful to the process of writing.

Reading helps you take advantage of lessons already learnt

Reading helps you draw on others’ experiences to take your decisions more carefully. Some things work and others don’t. I mean this in terms of public reception, criticism and in the writing process. Analyzing what they are and why they are so is important for writing. Essentially, writers don’t write to garner publicity or fame, but it’s important to know what you’re getting into. This will help you to avoid the mistakes (practically and otherwise too) that others have made.

It helps you boost your vocabulary

Another obvious point is that reading opens you up to new vocabulary. And I don’t just mean learning new words. That, one can do by rote learning a dictionary too. But reading shows you how new words can be used to express yourself articulately. It also shows how old words can be used in new ways so that their impact is greater. It will boost not just your vocabulary, but also your self-expression.

Reading helps you gain information about your genre

Reading is of course, essentially, a form of research. It gives you insight into how topics and themes are tackled. What are the devices used to enhance the writing? Flashbacks, conflicts and their resolution, and scene-setting are important aspects of a novel. Understanding how they are tackled in order to increase their effectiveness is important.

Reading helps you understand writing from a reader’s perspective

When you’re reading a novel, you can critique it from a reader’s perspective. When you’re writing it, not so much. This critique is particularly helpful while writing your own novel. In order to incorporate a reader’s perspective in your writing, it’s important to read novels similar to your own. You can then understand what needs to be discarded or edited and what is perfect the way it is.

It builds empathy

One of the most important qualities a writer needs to have is empathy. Empathy helps the author connect to his reader. If an author cannot make his readers feel like they are understood, that they’re not alone in what they’re feeling, then the book will neither sell nor become anyone’s favourite. And one of the main ways to increase empathy is to read. When you read a well-written novel, you root for the characters. You feel joy in their success and despair in their failure. You feel their happiness as well as sorrow. This empathy will translate into your writing and enable you to create characters that your readers root for.

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