How Reading Can Make You a Better Writer

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Once again, Hillsdale College is offering another Great Books course, Great Books 102

And it's free!

Here is an opportunity for great writers to learn from great authors. This 11 week, non-credit course covers the Renaissance to Modern fiction. You will read great works from authors such as Shakespeare, Austen, and Twain. It is a great source for writers who are deliberately practicing their craft.

Studies reveal there is a benefit to reading literary fiction. The reader connects with the complexities of characters and their situations.  Inferences are made since more is left to the imagination, resulting in strengthening cognitive skills and empathy.

But you don't have to only read literary fiction. This author suggests reading anything and everything:

Writers need to read. A lot. Magazines. Books. Periodicals. And so on. They need to grasp the art of language, to appreciate the finer points of words. As they read, they should jot down ideas and capture thoughts as they come.
Here are 5 ways reading helps you become a better writer:

1. Broadens vocabulary - Reading books exposes us to an abundance of wonderful words that will hook your reader. Using just the right word will make your writing shine!

2. Inspires - Reading can trigger a memory or idea for your own writing.

3. Increased knowledge  - Reading brings us to other times, places, and experiences. Learn to love learning. It provides greater understanding of the world around you.

4. Motivates - Reading may get you back on track with your own writing. Have you ever read a book and thought, "I could have written that!" Reading can stir your own passion and get you moving.

5. Exposure to various writing styles - What books do you like? How does the author hook you? Are the characters interesting? How so? Study and take notes. Then let your own style take shape.

By all means, enjoy reading. Don't get lost in over analyzing. Just read! Very naturally, you will be learning and growing as a writer.


After raising and homeschooling her 8 children and teaching art classes for 10 years, Kathy has found time to pursue freelance writing. She enjoys writing magazine articles and more recently had her story, "One of a Kind", published in The Kids' ArkYou can find her passion to bring encouragement and hope to people of all ages at 
When It Hurts


Heidiwriter said...

I agree so wholeheartedly. To be a good writer you MUST read! Even badly-written books can show you what NOT to do!

Karen Cioffi said...

Kathleen, great article. These five tips are sure to help us writers hone our craft. I love #3 - I love to learn. :)

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