Monday, June 1, 2020

What Does Water Have to Do with Reading?

There are two camps when it comes to writers reading. One camp says that reading doesn’t make you a better writer. The other camp says the opposite: that reading is essential to becoming a better writer. I belong to the latter camp. So why should writers continue to read books?

Books are Like Water Stops

First off, a story about running. The other day, I went for a run and was thinking about how the water stops in a race serve as a refreshment stop. It doesn’t matter if you’re a hard core runner and you grab and go, just barely swallowing 4 oz. of water as half of it sloshes to the ground.

Or if you’re like me and suffer from a “condition” where you can’t be moving while drinking. Like seriously, I have to stop running. Stop walking. And then I can finally drink my 4 oz. of revitalizing H2O.

The going advice for the average runner is to take in 4 to 6 ounces of water for every 20 minutes of exercise. And at the end of your run? Drink as much as you need to feel hydrated and satisfied. So what about books?

Reading is Like Drinking Water

For the average reader, reading is an escape. For entertainment. Or for learning new information. But for the serious writer? Reading books is essential. Just like water. You have to read books in order to rehydrate your brain.

Reading books is like drinking water. Writing can sometimes be a lonely, draining job. Yes, it’s creative. And yes, creativity breeds more creativity. But what about those times when you hit a wall? A brick writer’s block wall. What happens when you don’t feel creative anymore?

Reading can be the answer to inspire you into action! It’s important to keep your own fire alive so the spark doesn’t die out. And the more you read, the better the writer you’ll become.

How Reading Helps You Become a Better Writer

So how does reading more books help you become a better writer? Because you’re absorbing examples of good writing. Just like people start to act like those they hang around, you’ll begin to pick up on the nuances of writing simply from reading lots of books.

Yes, you still have to write. Reading alone doesn’t make you a better writer. Writing and reading go hand in hand like runners and Gu.

It’s especially important to not only read more books, but to read books in your own genre. And to study them. But, isn’t reading alone a form of studying? Kind of. But to take it further, here’s one way you can study the books you read.

On a piece of notebook paper (use it for your bookmark), write a summary of each chapter as soon as you finish that chapter. When you finish the book, you can look at the book as a whole and look for structural patterns.

So, read more and drink some H2O.

Do you believe reading helps you become a better writer? What’s your favorite way to study books as you read them? Leave a comment and let me know! Share your comment here.

Outline Your Novel With a Simple Plot

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