Now, I wasn’t there for this conversation—though a friend of mine was—so I’m not revealing his answer. I am, however, stating the overall answer everyone around that table agreed with: If you’re a writer, you better be reading.
As writers we are all too often consumed by our writing. And rightfully so, it takes a huge bulk of time. If we have family, work another job, or basically have any other life outside of our writing desks, then finding the time to read on top of writing can seem impossible. Yet we need to make sure we are building that time into our schedules somehow.
Why? Because reading feeds our imagination. It keeps us dreaming, and that’s a vital component to writing. Reading also allows us to widen our voice, whether through learning new tools we come across that we’d like to implement or steering us away from ones that didn’t work. It also deepens our vocabulary, both in actual words and style. If we see writers pulling off unique metaphors or stylish imagery, it pushes us to strive for the same. We dig deeper. Work harder. Edit longer.
But best of all? When we continue the role of reader, we see words through another spectrum. We see their impact, and we know we want ours to be as powerful. Bottom line? Reading allows us to retain the wonder of the written word. When we’re filled with that, friends, we can’t help but pass it on to our own readers.
So whatever you do, don’t stop reading.