Friday, September 11, 2009

The Writer's Porch--Gotta Read!

We’ve finished the series of Shortbread: How to Write Great Devotions. So today I want to chat about the most important thing you can do as a writer—READ. Become a voracious reader—read non-fiction, current fiction, newspapers and magazines. Read the classics, too.

The one thing that you will hear at writers’ conferences is this—great writers are insatiable readers. I remember being on staff several years ago at the Glorieta Christian Writers’ Conference in New Mexico. The keynote speaker spoke on the topic of reading as much as you can to improve your own writing. Afterward, a woman came up to me and said, “I do not read anything, but I happen to be a great writer.” I wanted to say, “Really?” I held my tongue, but I knew that in order to write you must read.

Why is this? There are several reasons. The first reason is good writing rubs off onto an aspiring writer. I encourage you to pay attention to how authors structure their sentences. Find fabulous words that you might never have thought of on your own. Keep a list of these words. Analyze why you particularly like one author over another. Don’t be afraid that you will become a copycat. You won’t! Your own voice will seep onto the page, but figure out what makes one writer better than another one—including yourself.

Another reason to read is to stay current with what is going on in our world. Often writers live a solitary life. They chain themselves to the computer and stay in touch with life via the Internet. News and research will not keep you current on the direction that articles and books are taking. You can read about it, but you won’t absorb it into your own thoughts.

Every Thursday for the past several months I have been blogging about different books. Sometimes it is about writing books—I did this yesterday. Other times I am reviewing a novel I enjoyed. Still other times I spotlight a non-fiction. My original intent was to share my enjoyment of reading, but as I've continued I have hoped that writers would be inspired to pick up one of the books and it would spur them on to great writing.

I do not consider "Babbling about Books - Thursday" necessarily as a book review, but more as a suggestion for a good read. There are several books that I have read that I did not like, so I didn’t babble about them. Of course, everyone’s reading tastes differ, but I am trying to blog about books that have either good writing, a great story line or great information.

Check out the blog post that She Reads had a few days ago. It inspired me to try to read even more than I do.

It’s true—“passion is caught, not taught.” If you want to write, READ!


Karen Jordan said...

And when you can't write, read! Right? I've found that reading often helps when "writer's block" sneaks up on me.

Judith Hernandez said...

Susan: I have learn a lot and enjoyed your series on How to Write Great Devotionals, I would like to asked you for permission to translate it (Spanish) and post in into my blog ( ). Please let me know. Thank you!