You Think You Can Write? How Well Do You Read?

Write Like Your Life Depended On It!

Simply put, one of the only ways to get better at writing is to read. Sure, you can practice your writing with blogs and journals and what not, but if you don’t read good writing, you’ll have no idea how to write well.

Every good writer will say the same thing. Here is master writer John Straley also saying it:

What is the best advice you would give to people who want to be writers?
Finish the things you start and keep reading-and read widely, lots of different things. It always makes me bristle when somebody says they want to be a writer but then says “I don’t read mysteries,” or “I never read science fiction,” “or mainstream fiction.” I think you should read as much as you can; see how successful books work. By successful I mean books that you read and get lost in. Then try to emulate that. Keep writing no matter what.

I started out reading SF (before that, comic books) — mostly of the space opera sub-genre.

Today I can hardly read SF at all because most of it is simply so badly written. I’ve come to the point where I can see the difference.

As for my own writing here, it’s mostly shit. I don’t yet have the time to sit back and do the lengthy, thoughtful kind of pieces I’d like to do. All I have time for right now is hit-and-run — and, when necessary, bitch.

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