If you want to be a writer, you must read.
You could do it for pleasure or research.
But most importantly, to improve you writing.
I had a classmate in college, who said he did not read because he wanted to retain his originality.
After hearing that, I started reading even more because I realized that our brain will come up with the most absurd ideas to prevent us doing things that are hard.
I’m not saying that if you want to be a writer then you need to chuck your TV out of the window and surround yourself with books. That you need to delete Candy Crush and Temple Run from your phone and replace them with word puzzles. And instead of listening to the latest Justing Bieber hit single you should be listening to the audio book version of the Illiad. But I’m pretty sure that doing those things will make you a much better writer.
Reading is hard.
Why would someone say that to be a writer you don’t have to read?
There is the stigma in our society against reading. So if you are like me, you will find the thought of not needing to read comforting. But the truth is: people who say these type of things will say anything anyone would want to hear. And does anyone want to hear that published authors read 50-100 books per year? Not really. So beware, the next thing these people will be saying is that you don’t need to write to become a writer.
It’s all in the path of least resistance.
My classmate, who was afraid to accidentally copy some aspects of someone else’s work came up with a good excuse for himself. But, as we all know, since we all read Harry Potter, there would be no Harry Potter if there was no mythology.
In fact, exact opposite is true. We should read so that we CAN take parts of other works, change them, and apply them into our own. Because, nothing is original not even Homer. Although, he gets a pass because he wrote such a long time ago, but for all we know he could have plagiarized the whole thing.
Maybe you want to write for the wrong reasons?
I don’t understand people who want to become writers and don’t want to read (or write). It makes not sense to me. If you are like that then maybe you are interested in writing for all the wrong reasons. Maybe you like the idea that writing can make you famous or rich. So you think you can just write a book out of an idea that has been in your head. But the truth is that very few people actually make any money out of writing, and even fewer make enough money to live on. You would be better off playing a lottery, like I am. Hey, you never know. Right? I’m so poor.
Read for fun and for work.
Reading to see what writing looks like.
Today’s writing falls into many-many categories. The consumers look only for specific stuff that they want to read, and if the writing does not match their expectation they will feel disappointed or cheated. That’s why you should read, so that you know what all of these categories are. So that you can find exactly what you want to write and what others want to read.
Reading for inspiration.
I read some pretty awful stuff lately. I remember reading “The Maze Runner,” and feeling completely cheated. Because I thought it would be like “The Hunger Games,” but it turned out to make no sense what so ever. And I felt inspired, because if that book got published then how difficult could it be?
You should read as much as you possibly can.
There is no limit to how much you should read as long as you still have time to write. There is such a thing as too little. I think if you read less than 50 books per year then you are in trouble, because that’s how many books I am reading at the moments. And I can feel that it’s not nearly enough.