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by Sherrie Clark

Ask any writer, and most will tell you they love to read and have since they were a young child. So the bottom line is that to be a good writer, you need to read.

For instance, do you know any musicians who don’t like to listen to music? Just the contrary. Frequently, you’ll hear them refer to other musicians, bands, songs, and albums, revealing that they listen to music quite a bit. They’ll mention the artists who influenced them in their choice of genres and how they had bought and listened to their albums and CDs.

As writers, we’re no different. We have certain authors we favor, certain books we devour, and certain genres toward which we gravitate. The kind of books you read is really the kind of books you should write. Maybe your pick is mysteries or romance or inspirational books about faith. Then those are the topics about which you want to write. Maybe you’ve read lots of books about nutrition and have applied them to your life. In fact, you’ve become an expert on the subject. As a result, you’ve come up with an easier nutritional plan, a different perspective, or information that can supplement all of the other nutritional books you’ve read, and you want to share it with others. Health and Nutrition may be your genre.

Whatever your interest and passion, read as many books on that topic as you can. You’ll be better informed on the topic, especially if nonfiction. You’ll pick up the specific words used in that genre and see how the authors address that market. Also, read books in other genres as well. Expanding your territory is a good thing. Some books combine genres, so it’s good to be familiar with them and their writing. Oddly enough, but read really bad books too. Why? You’ll learn from their mistakes.

Don’t forget to read books about writing. You’ll pick up some valuable tips on what to do and what not to do. After all, if you wanted to upholster your couch, wouldn’t you want to read a book about how to do it correctly before spending a lot of time and money and putting a lot of effort into it? Otherwise, you may not get the results you wanted. So it goes with writing.

Also, reading increases your vocabulary. As writers, we want to have a large pool of words to communicate our message. So read for the enjoyment, and read to learn.


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