Should writers read?


Well,  in my opinion, yes. How can an author hope to develop a writing technique, unless they study other writers? How can a decision be reached as to what genre to write in, or what audience to target, unless research is done as to what readers like to read, and how to make your writing appeal to them?An awful lot of questions, but all need to be answered in order to attain a writing goal.

questions-resized-600.jpgI remember a few years ago conducting an interview with a fantasy writer. One of the questions I asked is: what do you read and why? Her answer quite frankly astonished me: she didn’t read, she didn’t have any favourite authors, and she didn’t buy many books. This begged the question as to why she wanted to become a published author. Was it, as so many people seem to think, because she thought that writing was easy? Did she, as again so many assume, think that speculative fiction was also easy to write? Well, judging from the sample of her book that I read, I’d say the answer to this is yes.


So what was her motivation? I didn’t ask the question, but guessed that “fame and fortune” was probably why this writer wrote. She therefore offered the reading public poor quality, hackneyed, and clichéd, burnt offerings. One of the most fundamental reasons for writing, in whatever genre, must be passion. Passion about writing. Passion about reading, and above all, offering potential readers the opportunity to immerse themselves in a story that will carry them away.

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20 Responses to “Should writers read?”

  1. I agree Kate, writers should read, and read a lot. I’ve always got my nose in a book (sometimes it’s one of mine 🙂 ). Reading keeps me loose and excited about telling stories.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I don’t read every night, but I always read before I write. It gets me pumped.


  3. I think it was Stephen King who said if you don’t have time to read, you don’t have time to write. I don’t understand why anyone would want to write a book if they’re aren’t interested in reading. It doesn’t surprise me that you’ve run into authors who aren’t fans of reading. I’ve met a few myself.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Yes, it was Stephen King who said that. It just baffles me as to why there’re writers who don’t read. It’s like someone trying to create a statue and yet not be interested in sculpture.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Olivia Stocum Says:

    I love to read. And I have found that reading books in genres other than my own gives me fresh ideas and perspectives. Great post!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Yes, yes, and yes. Would a patient trust a surgeon who had never studied medicine? So why do non-readers think they can write good books?

    Awesome post!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Robert Louis Stevenson credited much of his inspiration for “Treasure Island” to several other authors. And while it was important to him to be able to support his family on the proceeds of his pen, it was a passion for storytelling that had driven him since his youth. What Stevenson had to say about writers seeking fame and fortune seems to be just as relevant today:

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I know one (successful) TV writer who says he doesn’t watch much TV so as not to get too influenced by what others are writing, but I couldn’t not read in any case so I chose to believe it’s necessary to my writing!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I think tv, as a visual medium, is different in a way. The writer in question , depending on what they write, wants to come up with something different to show viewers. It seems to me that they are unique. Look how many sitcoms & soap operas follow the same theme over and over. TV reality shows too, all variations on the same theme. How many cookery programmes are there? This can, of course, apply to books as well, since there are only so many plots to follow. But if a writer doesn’t read, how can they learn their trade properly? How can they know what readers want?


  8. To be a good writer, you have to be a good reader. Writing is about reading essentially–entering the other worlds of the mind and imagination. If you are a writer who loves to read, I think you bring that love into the writing process and into the creativity. I can’t imagine one without the other.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Anyone who believes they don’t need to read in order to be a writer isn’t ready to be a writer. (If screen fiction is your thing, you should try writing screenplays, not novels or short stories, because the ways in which those stories are told differs — but you still need to read sometimes.)

    Liked by 1 person

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