It’s probably pretty safe to say that writers are, first and foremost, lovers of story. And often that naturally means that they are also some of the biggest bibliophiles you’ll ever find!
But there’s more to it than that. Writers actually NEED to read…for a number of reasons.
Let’s take a look at why.
Honing their Craft
Of course, firstly writers need to read to improve their own writing. How else can we learn how to write well (or how to avoid writing poorly) than by reading widely? In fact, Stephen King once famously said that writers who don’t read don’t have the tools they need to write.
Yep, it’s that important. As a writer, we need to be involved in what’s going on to learn. We need to read the good and the bad, as well as books on craft and even business (yup, writing to publish also means learning how to run a business).
Learning the Market
Another huge reason why writers need to read, particularly in their own genre of choice, is to learn what’s being published and what is successful. What do readers want to read? What do publishers want to buy?
Whether you plan to indie publish or go the traditional route, it is important for you to know what sells so that you can sell your work (remember how I said writing is also business?). Agents and publishers want to know you’re familiar with the market. They want to know that you know what’s out there.
And if you’re indie pubbing, that’s how you get to sell your work: by knowing what the readers want! It also helps you learn what tropes are common (and sometimes expected) in your genre.
Expanding Our Creativity
It’s definitely worth your time to read wide. Find things that interest you, whether it’s scifi, nonfiction, romance, or whatever! By reading widely outside of your genre, you open yourself to new possibilities to include in your own stories. If you only ever read one genre, you’ll miss out on so much more you could be using. Reading, and reading a variety of things, helps us to fill our creative wells and come up with new ideas.
For the Love of Story
Most of all, writers need to read just because we are, as I mentioned earlier, lovers of story. We read for enjoyment. We read to cope with the world. We read to have a moment of escape or a bit of adventure.
Don’t forget to read for fun. 🙂