Thursday, November 5, 2015

If You’re Writing, You Better be Reading! by Susan Tuttle

I recently attended the writer’s conference Breathe in West Michigan where the keynote speaker was Stephen James. (Side note: if you ever get to hear him speak, don’t pass up the opportunity!) After the Friday night closing session, Stephen entered into a conversation with a group about whether or not writers should be reading the Classics.  

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. 
Susan Tuttle
Susan Tuttle is a homeschooling mom of three who is crazy about coffee, dark chocolate, and words—both reading and writing them. Combine that love of words with her passion for leading women to a life-changing encounter with Christ, and you’ll find her crafting Inspirational Contemporary Romance stories laced with humor, love, and healing transformations. When not cheering on her Ironman hubby, chasing the family dog, or tackling complex math problems to teach her kids (yes, even the third grader), you can catch Susan at her blog, Steps.


  1. I so agree with you, Susan! I especially like the imagination spark. It's not uncommon for me to be reading and have a question come to mind that sparks an idea that blossoms into something totally unrelated to what I'm reading. Strange how that works!

    1. Yes!! That's what happens with me too. I find I'm a much better writer when I'm reading...a happier writer too because I love reading:)

  2. Yes, ma'am! I can always tell when I've been reading: my writing flows better and just "sounds" better. Plus, it just makes sense. How can we ask others to read our work when we're not reading?

    Very eloquent arguments, Susan. Thanks for the reminder!

    1. So true, Angie! It really does spark my mind into different directions.

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  4. Besides working on my own writing, I edit for other authors. Taking time to read for "pure pleasure" often feels like a luxury. It's helpful to be continually reminded that it's not only fun, it's part of my "job."


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