As passionate readers, we tend to pay a lot of attention to how books are written and appreciate the true value of authors whenever we read their work. Here at Basmo, we are passionate about books and reading above anything else, but since reading cannot exist without writing, we decided to explore this topic as well for your benefit. Not only is reading impossible without writing, but writing is also in close connection to reading. So, how does reading improve your writing skills?
As much as you would try to imagine how difficult it is to write a book and become a successful author, the only way you can really gain the right level of understanding and appreciation for the work that goes into the novels you read is to actually put pen to paper and try to write something yourself. Only then will you realize how difficult it is to express your thoughts in writing, make your work appealing to others, and stay true to your personal writing style. The real state of awe that authors deserve us to be in will only come when you will actually go through the same process they go through in order to provide us with the art we love so much.
Why Is Reading Important to Writers?
The importance of reading in the creation process writers go through is tremendous, to say the least. Not only is it an essential source of inspiration that can help consolidate an author’s style, but it is also an irreplaceable learning tool.
Reading plays a huge role in the research authors make in order to write a book. As you can probably imagine, writing a book without historical inaccuracies isn’t an easy process. And there is a lot of research that goes into that: reading about historical events, making sure that the action they describe in their stories are believable, figuring out how people actually thought in the period when the book’s action takes place. All this information generally comes from books. Authors are supposed to do extensive research on a huge variety of topics if they want their books to be believable and factually and historically accurate.
Then comes the artistic component. A writer won’t have any real success unless he has an interesting writing style and a good ability to construct sentences and paragraphs. While this talent for words generally comes as an innate skill, it also needs to be trained and further developed. Practice makes perfect, but using books written by talented authors helps tremendously as well. Reading is a huge inspiration source for all writers, whether it’s meant to learn from others’ mistakes or to learn new styles.
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Does reading improve writing skills?
Yes, reading improves writing skills, there is no question about it. While it’s definitely not all there is to it, denying the role reading has in a writer’s abilities would be a mistake. Being an avid reader doesn’t exactly guarantee that you will also be a good writer, but if you do have some innate writing skills, reading is going to give you quite a boost.
How does reading improve your writing skills?
So exactly how does reading make you a better writer? There are several benefits writers can enjoy if they are also in the habit of reading.
Here are some of the most notable ones:
- Being a reader helps you see the other side of the story, allowing you to understand what your readers are going to expect from you as a writer.
- Reading gives you an opportunity to explore other writing styles and learn new writing techniques.
- Reading motivates you to do your own writing.
- Reading teaches you a lot about how you should structure your stories, how to build suspense, or how to better express your thoughts when you write your own.
- Through reading, you get to learn what has already been done and you get a chance to find your niche.
- Reading improves your vocabulary, which will make it easier for you to find the right words to tell your stories and express your thoughts and feelings.
- While figures of speech and metaphors come to you more as a personal and emotional thing, technicalities like phrasing and paragraph structuring need to be learned. And as you probably guessed it, the best way to learn them is through reading.
Is it Necessary to Read More to Write Better?
While some writers may have a natural ability that allows them to write well without reading too much, most of them will benefit greatly from reading more. It’s not 100% necessary to read a lot to become a good writer, but you should keep in mind that very few of us are talented enough to become respected authors without putting a lot of work into this.
Can You Become a Good Writer Just by Reading More?
On the other hand, simply reading a lot won’t make you an accomplished writer. Becoming a successful author requires a very specific mix of innate talent, hard work, and a certain way of thinking. Talent alone is not enough without putting the work in, reading, and doing tons of research. And it is just as true that doing the work without being at least somewhat talented is not going to help you achieve the level you are hoping for.
How does critical reading improve your writing?
Critical reading is a form of reading that involves a careful analysis of the text at hand, both in regards to the writing technique and the ideas, themes, and actual content quality. Critical reading is significantly different from recreational reading and involves a much greater level of involvement from the reader. The process is a lot slower, and the reader will gain a lot more information from the text than he normally would in a regular reading session.
For writers, critical reading is a very powerful tool. It provides them with great insights that can reveal a lot of important details about the way certain books are written. Through critical reading, writers can explore new ways of thinking, new techniques, different styles, and they can use their own perspective to evaluate the quality of different texts. They can extract the relevant data that will help them develop into better writers, and they will certainly benefit tremendously from their critical reading sessions.
What are some Tips for Improving Your Writing by Reading
Blindly reading with no purpose isn’t going to be enough if you are serious about becoming a better writer. You are going to need to approach reading with a different perspective and you are going to need the right mindset whenever you pick up a book.
Here are some tips and tricks to improve your writing skills through better reading habits.
Use a reading tracking app
Reading tracking apps like Basmo can help you improve your reading habits and take your reading to the next level. One of the most important things to take into account when reading to become a better writer is that perseverance always pays off. So, adding some structure to your reading habits is going to help tremendously. That’s where Basmo steps in.
Here’s what Basmo can do for you.
Basmo helps you read more
Our app makes reading more fun, even if you don’t necessarily do it as a form of entertainment. It’s always interesting to learn things about your skills and habits, and Basmo provides you with plenty of options to do that.
First of all, Basmo tracks all the reading you do. It times your reading sessions and measures your reading speed, compiling interesting reports and statistics to help you learn how well you perform as a reader. Not only does Basmo make your reading habits more interesting, but it can also push you to read more in a direct manner.
You can set clear goals for your reading habits, whether you prefer to set a daily goal for how much time you spend reading or a big picture one for the number of books you go through within a year.
Basmo encourages you to add structure to your reading habits
You can schedule your reading sessions and this will help you develop much healthier reading habits.
Basmo’s scheduling feature allows you to select the days of the week you want to do your reading in and you can also select different times for separate days. The app will also remind you of the upcoming reading sessions through notifications.
Basmo allows you to organize your reading material
We know here at Basmo that what you read is just as important as how much you read. That is why our app allows you to create as many reading lists as you want and gives you the opportunity to customize them however you see fit.
This can help you keep your recreational reading separate from the reading you do to improve your writing skills.
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As I mentioned above, doing some critical reading can help a lot. Read with a purpose, look for things to learn, and analyze everything down to its core. Take sentences separately, examine how they are built and what the author did to make them interesting and pleasurable to read. See how the story is structured, how the author builds suspense, how he tries to make you feel certain emotions while reading.
There is a lot for you to learn if you read carefully what the most talented authors in the world have written throughout the centuries.
Explore different genres
Reading to improve your writing skills generally means you should also step out of your comfort zone. You should read as many books as possible, by as many authors as possible. You should explore different genres even if some may not be your cup of tea. General knowledge is essential for a good writer and having a good understanding of everything that surrounds you is going to help a lot
So, what type of books to read to improve writing? You have a couple of options.
- Any books that match your writing expectations. Obviously, if you are interested in writing romance novels, the best place to start is by reading as many books from this genre. Analyze them, see what you like and don’t like about what’s already been written. This is going to give you a pretty good idea about what’s expected from a book in the genre you’re interested in.
- Books about writing. There are plenty of books that have been written with the clear purpose of helping others become accomplished authors. Even the great Stephen King wrote a book (On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft) that serves both as an instructions manual for the up and coming writers and as a memoire.
- Books written by the authors you appreciate the most. Allowing your favorite authors to inspire you is always a great idea. What makes them your favorite authors might actually be exactly what you aspire to achieve as a writer, so you are going to benefit greatly if you follow and study their work.
To conclude, reading and writing go hand in hand. There is a lot of work that goes into becoming a writer and acquiring the necessary skills and a great part of that involves reading. While being an avid reader doesn’t necessarily make you a great writer, it certainly brings you a lot closer to your goals. Use Basmo to improve your reading habits and performance and see how that affects your writing skills.
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Track the books you read, monitor the time you spend reading and keep notes on your reading habits and how it makes you feel. You can set yourself targets for the time you spend reading and you can get notified whenever you’re behind on your reading time.
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