Writing Myths, Part III
“Read a lot to write a lot.”
This is something we hear a lot, especially at a publishing company. People ask why they should be reading, when what they really want to do is write. Many seem to think there’s a disconnect between reading and writing, and that one can only do one or the other, not both—however, that’s just not the case.
As they say, some myths are bound to be true.
1. Why you should read
If you’re a writer, then at the very least you should read to support other writers. After all, if you don’t support them, why would you expect them to support you?
As you might have guessed, there’s a lot more to it than that.
Writers, you should be reading so that you never stop learning. There never comes a point when there isn’t something you can change about your writing, something that could be bettered, and reading is one of the ways we find that out.
If you’re not a writer, then you should be reading because you need to learn something too, and let’s face it, science says people who read a lot are smarter. Read to support your friends, to escape reality, or even just to have fun. But read. It’s never not a good idea.
2. Why you should write
For writers, this one is obvious. You should be writing, because it’s in your blood. Write, because you have a story in you, and it needs to come out. Write, because you have a story that no one else can tell.
For those of you who aren’t writers, I’m still going to say it:
You should be writing.
There’s a lot we can learn about the world by writing, a lot that can only come to us by writing. We learn more about the people around us, about behaviors and ideas that maybe wouldn’t have come to us any other way, and we get to be a part of something. Join the community of writers, if you haven’t already. I dare you. Even if all you do is journaling, blogging, writing your thoughts online, it’s something. It’s words written on a page, exploring a new realm you might never have reached any other way.
3. Why you should do both at the same time
After everything I’ve just said, this might be a given, but I want to make things very clear. Read a lot to write a lot is a very true statement. If all we do is read, we don’t take as much time to write. If all we do is write, we don’t take as much time to read. The trick is to find a balance between reading and writing, between learning and experimentation.
Trust me, editors want to see that you know what you’re doing. We love when someone sends in a story that’s neat and polished, with new ideas and few repeating phrases.
Whether you consider yourself a writer or a reader, both these activities are ones you should be taking part in. Read to learn, write to explore.
That’s the key, in all that we do.