Someone asked me that as a writer I must be reading a lot. I said yes. Even before I started writing, I would read a lot. As a child I spent my summer holidays devouring books, like a book monster. Finishing off a pile of books in a jiffy.
Many people think that we writers read to copy ideas from other writers. I completely disagree with that thought. We read because we love stories and love to disappear in another writer’s words and the world they have created with their stories. We read not to lift ideas, or to get creatively inspired by other writers. We read books because we crave new experiences, because we want to soak in new cultures, learn about different people. We read because we love stories.
I remember what my writing friend Elizabeth Varadan said about reading. “Reading is like doing homework for writers. Homework that we love doing everyday and look forward to when its not there.” She advised me “For every word we write, we must read atleast a thousand and more. Only then will our words make a difference.”
We hone our craft when we read extensively, we also learn from other writers’ success and failures. The more we read, the more critical we become. I love to read: every genre and age group. But I don’t read much non-fiction. I am planning to change that by reading a few non-fiction books.
I have noticed that all great writers are voracious readers. No, they are not sizing up the competition, but expanding their literary horizons and improving their literary flexibility. The more we read, the more familiar we get with words and plots and story arcs. Reading grooms us into better writers. It adds to our vocabulary, enhances our skills and ofcourse not just educates us, but entertains us as well.
What about you all? Why do you all read books? Do you believe that it is important for writers to read?