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How much should a writer read?

Updated on July 16, 2012
Writing? Reading? Find a balance...
Writing? Reading? Find a balance...

My thoughts behind 'how much should a writer read'

Recently I was checking the search ranking of my article about 'How much should a writer charge', and I noticed that one of the auto-fill phrases in the search bar was 'how much should a writer read'.

It got me thinking, and I thought to myself "Hey, that's a good question - how much should a writer read..?".

And so I thought I'd write a bit of a discussion-based hub on it, to express my thoughts on the matter and also look at the consideration of others (there's plenty of space for you to add comments in the box at the bottom - you can add your comments as a free hubpages member, or add them as a guest).

Why is it good for a writer to read?

I think it's safe to say that everybody who classes themselves a writer (whether that classification is warranted or not), is also an avid reader. If you are reading this as a writer and can honestly say you don't enjoy reading (whatever your choice of literature may be) then please comment below - I'd love to know if there is an exception to the rule!

Reading hones your language skills.

That's right, reading keeps you on your toes - reminds you of how writing is supposed to look. And depending on what kind of writer you are and what kind of reading you are engaged in, it can also help you by providing inspiration or by expanding your knowledge.

What kind of writer are you?

There are so many different writers out there, and as such I am of the belief that the kind of writer you are may influence how much you should read - and if not how much, then certainly the type of literature you read. For example:

  • Poet - somebody who expresses emotion, humour, mood etc in verse
  • Novelist - somebody with a (perceived) knack for writing complex plots into a digestible and coherent format
  • Copywriter - somebody who writes sales material such as adverts amongst other things, usually for businesses
  • Tabloid journalist - somebody who reports the news in print format
  • Script Writer - somebody who writes scripts. Obviously

Of course, there are many other types of writers out there of which I am not going to mention as the list is expansive.


Want to learn to write a better article?

But how much should a writer read!?

OK, perhaps I should concentrate my ramblings to the point of this article - how much should a writer read?

Well quite naturally, if a writer is writing often, there isn't going to be an awful lot of time for reading - at least not for pleasure, as whilst reading the majority of the reading you'll be doing is for research purposes.

Having said this, I think it safe to say that beyond madness and obsession, a writer should always have at least one book on the go - it's a healthy habit to fall into. Other than that, a writer should perhaps endeavor to at least read something every day (in my opinion) and ensure that what is being read is varying in its nature as well as its style, so as to improve and expand the scope of such writer as mentioned above.

That was a lot of build up to a short conclusion! What are your thoughts? Comment below.


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    • WritingPrompts profile image

      Karen 5 years ago from The Garden of Eugene (Oregon)

      I would guess at least as much time should be spent reading as actually writing, possibly more, 2/3 of the time maybe. I get a lot of inspiration from reading. Once I feel inspired my writing time becomes much more productive! Plus, you need to see how others craft their poems/stories/copy to continue to improve your own writing.

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      chrisinhawaii 5 years ago

      Hahaha! Sounds good to me! Good luck fitting it all in your carry-on bag...

    • writeyourwrongs profile image

      John Crowley 5 years ago from Sheffield

      Very true. I imagine there are a select few arrogant writers out there who feel they should be their own source of inspiration, but I can't imagine them having a great amount of success.

      When I'm next in Hawaii (!) I'll have to bust my drum kit out and we'll have a jam.


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      chrisinhawaii 5 years ago

      Hey John, gonna have to agree that reading is in the best interest of every writer, or at least those writers who want to improve their skills.

      For instance, several years ago I played guitar in a punk band here in Hawaii (stay with me now). I played guitar EVERY SINGLE DAY for 5 or 6 years, but after joining the band, I never seemed to improve much. Why was that?

      It's because I always played by myself or with my band. If I had been playing with other guitarists who were much better than I was, then I would have stretched and pushed myself to improve. But since I only played with my own band and not with other advanced guitarists...I stagnated.

      If a writer wants to improve his writing skills, he must not only read what others are writing, but he must also be sure to read the works of those who are better writers than he is himself. We need a push to improve, and we need a higher standard to reach for.

      After all, how many great writers looked to themselves for inspiration? None that I know of.

      Aloha, John =)

    • writeyourwrongs profile image

      John Crowley 5 years ago from Sheffield

      Absolute truth. I haven't been keeping up lately either, always lying to myself that I don't have the time to - but the sheer fact that I had time to write about how much a writer should read proves that wrong!

      Thanks for providing your input dahoglund :)

    • dahoglund profile image

      Don A. Hoglund 5 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids

      Although I have not been keeping up lately but I would say a writer should read as much as possible. ideally it would include classics, current books, specialized subject matter. It would be well to learn some reading techniques as it is not always best to read cover to cover or every word.