Read to Write

Cynthia Ruchti

Read to Write

Blogger: Cynthia Ruchti

A friend visited last week. She’s a minimalist, which I appreciate but have yet to mimic. The one thing I collect–other than dust–that caught her eye was something that shows up in every room of my house. Yes, including the bathrooms.

Books.

It’s expected books would pile up in my office, but they also occupy space in the downstairs half-bath, aka The Library. They’re stacked on a hallway dresser upstairs and a bookshelf unit wedged between doorways farther down the hall.

Books tumble over themselves from bookshelves in every bedroom, including the guest room, where the bookshelf leaves room for little more than two twin beds and a nightstand full of…yes…books.

It’s been said before. The subject has been addressed on this blog in the past.

Why do agents return to the three-word advice–Read to write–so often?

Reading changes us

In profound ways, what we read changes us.

But the way we read, how often, and how widely changes us, too.

Reading imprints language rhythms on our writer brains.

It informs us, establishing greater confidence in decision-making.

It educates.

Reading inspires.

Writers depend on it.

What does a writer read to become a better writer?

Wise writers read:

Old bookswriters read old books

New books

Books in their genre

Books outside of their genre

Industry publications

Blogs about writing

Blogs about reading

Author blogs

Blogs about their projects’ subject matter

Special interest blogs related to our target audience

Books for research

Books for fun

Classics

New releases

Pulitzer Prize winners

Tattered copies of old favorites

writers read children's booksChildren’s books

Poetry books

The Bible (a given)

Other authors’ back cover copy (to see how it’s done)

Other books’ reviews (to see what captures a reader’s attention)

Closed captions on movies (to gain understanding of dialogue pacing)

Their contracts (seriously)

And the occasional royalty statement

A writer caught reading can legitimately say, “I’m working.”

Because every sentence we read informs the sentences we write.

Every word picture we linger over helps expand our skill at creating gripping analogies, metaphors, similes.

Every page we turn develops our capacity for writing page-turning books.

What book have you read lately that made you a better writer? http://ctt.ec/c8dag