Are most writers readers as well?

United States
October 26, 2010 11:13am CST
I just returned from the library where I picked up four or five books. I was wondering what I was thinking since I barely have time to breathe. I am determined to get some reading in, it's so good for the brain! Anyway, in my thoughts about my own writing responsibilities I wondered if you think basically all writers are avid readers as well...?
8 people like this
29 responses
@Catana (736)
• United States
26 Oct 10
My first thought is that anyone who doesn't love to read probably isn't going to be a writer. But the subject matter and quality of a lot of content on the web tells me that the authors have rarely read a book, and some of them even admit that. They're inspired by TV, movies, computer games, and online gaming, so that's where their ideas come from. The problem is that those media teach them nothing about writing, just about plots and characters, most of which are cliches and stereotypes. I think we'll see more of that kind of writing as time goes on. Unfortunately.
2 people like this
• United States
26 Oct 10
This is unfortunately a sad truth. I think our generation is being "dumbed down" by lots of media. There is less and less pressure to do things correctly. I think of how differently writing was in the early 1900's!
2 people like this
@bloggeroo (2171)
• Philippines
27 Oct 10
Yup. It appears to be that being a good reader is a prerequisite skill to being a writer. So, anybody who does not read much won't be much of a writer. Maybe, it's a brain thing. The same area in our brains are common to both avid readers and proficient writers.
3 people like this
• United States
27 Oct 10
This is very true! I totally agree with you here!
1 person likes this
• United States
26 Oct 10
Do I think they are? Yes, most authors are also readers. Do I think they should be? Yes. To know one's craft well, one must surround oneself with same. Naturally, we writers can learn much from reading those who have mastered the craft of writing. We can also learn from those who have not. When I read another author and judge their writing ability, in my own writing I judge it by the same criteria. Reading others inspires me in my journey to excel at the craft of writing.
2 people like this
• United States
26 Oct 10
You make some really good points about this "journey of writing." I am learning a lot about it as I travel through it as well! Reading is an asset!
1 person likes this
@Vegtamr (82)
• Italy
26 Oct 10
Well, technically a writer should also be a reader... a writer who doesn't like to read is as strange as a basket player who doesn't like to watch a game of basket: possible, sure, but pretty senseless. Reading is very important for everyone who wants to write: it's not only refining the language, but also "studying" how other writers work and maybe "stealing" some of their secret. You cont' actually be a good writer, if you spend all your time locked up in a cage, without confronting yourself with other writers... and the only way to do this confront is by reading their books.
• United States
26 Oct 10
I like the way you say we "confront ourselves with other writers"! This is so very true and necessary for writers. I believe it is also essential to maintain a good command of language.
1 person likes this
• United States
27 Oct 10
It seems to me that there are more writers than readers... which is very discouraging to me as a writer and an avid reader. I don't know ANY fellow avid readers who don't want to be writers, and I've met a fair share of non-readers who want to be writers too. Personally, I think that writers should be readers... and they should be MAD CRAZY READERS. First, because you learn from reading what works and what doesn't work in your writing. You get ideas and you improve. Second, because it's just plain hypocritical if you want others to read your work when you don't do any reading yourself.
1 person likes this
• United States
29 Oct 10
Very good points! I think you are right too that it is hypocritical and I will add selfish, to write but not read!
1 person likes this
• United States
29 Oct 10
Yes, I'd say selfish too. Besides... reading is grand and great fun! Why wouldn't you want to join in?
@KrauseHome (35035)
• United States
14 Nov 11
Personally I would think that all people who are Writers in any way are avid readers and thinkers. Always reading and researching something along with their daily writing trying to find new ideas and areas of interest to them to continue to encourage and strengthen their mind a little more for sure.
1 person likes this
• United States
15 Nov 11
I think you are probably right about that. The two activities are rather complimentary I suppose!
@gdesjardin (1938)
• United States
28 Oct 10
I am not a writer, but I am a reader. I was laughing when I read your discussion, because I just got home from the used bookstore and just had to get more books. The funny thing is that I have so many books on my shelf waiting to be read and I keep buy more and more and more. I just have been so busy these days I actually haven't really been reading like I use to. And you are very correct...reading is good for the brain!
• United States
29 Oct 10
I know! I just purchased three books last week, and have only begun one of them. But i still took a trip to the library this week and borrowed five more books! who knows!
• United States
27 Oct 10
This is such an imperative. I studied Literature in college and ALL my professors told me that in order to well, we have to read well. They are right. All writers were influenced by something, and at one point, something that they read as a kid or at any point in their lives influenced them to write works of their own. To say that one is a writer but doesn't read is stupid and ignorant. Their works are uninformed and will most like not amount to anything.
• United States
29 Oct 10
Your professor was pretty smart! And so were you for listening!!
@mira91 (988)
• Singapore
27 Oct 10
I think it might not necessarily be the case. Just like when you are in a certain job with a great pay, but in actual fact, you don't like what you're doing, but you're doing it because you just happen to be good at it? Well, it is possible, but i believe that most writers would have a very strong passion about books which would have come about from the love of reading. I believe that they would certainly have their own favourite book which had motivated them to be a great writer. But so far, i haven't heard of any writers not being in love with reading sensational novels and still is in the career?
1 person likes this
• United States
27 Oct 10
It is true we cannot box everyone up into the same framework. I think it's safe to assume that "most"writers are readers but that there are a few exceptions along the way!
@marco83 (43)
• Italy
27 Oct 10
I agree with you that many writers when become famous stop reading books.So I am wondering if this is not the cause for the first books written in the career,generally are better than the last ones.
1 person likes this
• United States
27 Oct 10
I think what you say is many times true. A writer starts out with a passion that begins to wane along the way. However, the converse is also true of some. There are writers who start out very weak and develop greatly over time until their last writings are much more potent than their first!
@zapatee (477)
• Philippines
27 Oct 10
most writers i know are avid readers too, so i believe they go together. but it is true somehow that as one becomes more busy with writing, the amount of reading can be lesser because of the focus given to writing. i also believe that most writers have been inspired to write because of their love for reading and what they have learned from other authors.
1 person likes this
• United States
27 Oct 10
I must agree that we can become very involved in our own writing and forget why we started to begin with! I have been wanting to settle back into reading myself. It's difficult to find time, but I am determined!
@Strovek (870)
• Malaysia
27 Oct 10
You need to read to get ideas at least initially. There are talented few who get ideas from the air. So definitely a writer needs to be a reader.
1 person likes this
• United States
27 Oct 10
Ideas do come from reading. Sometimes ranting comes from reading as well! When I want to say the opposite! I think it's good for our brains to hear things contrary to the way we think also!
• Philippines
27 Oct 10
For me, I think that most writers are readers as well. I guess the information or details that they are writing are based from different sources that they've read already. They should have several sources for them to be able to write many informative topics on different matters.
• United States
27 Oct 10
yes, I think being a well-rounded reader is a prerequisite to being a well-rounded writer. We need to experience many different genre and not only the ones which have become our favorites. This helps us grow as readers and writers as well.
@zandi458 (27952)
• Malaysia
27 Oct 10
I have a friend who is an established writer and has few published novels under his belt. Writing is his passion and he has that inborn talent in him. He is also an avid reader and has few popular authors as his favorites. I believe writing and reading is interconnected. They read books when they are not writing. I think words fascinate them more than anything else.
1 person likes this
• United States
27 Oct 10
It may be the words, or the power of the words, that is most fascinating about the activities of reading! I have found that I learn more about how to shape my words to help form the picture in my reader's mind when I also am reading a lot of different types and styles.
@nangisha (3504)
• Indonesia
27 Oct 10
Hi Macdingolinger!. I think most writer were avid readers because its need a lot imagination to work and you only can had great imagination if you reads a lot. I think reading really good for our brain because when you reads your brain try to visualize what you reads in your mind and thats keep it active.
1 person likes this
• United States
27 Oct 10
I agree that reading is a great place for an active brain, and is also very useful for keeping it active! I think it also enhances the imagination as you said!
@yna410 (431)
• Philippines
27 Oct 10
I think most writers are avid readers as well. To be able to write a good article, one must be well-informed and have a lot of ideas to share. It can be gained by reading many books and other resources like newspapers, magazines, journals, etc. Although some writers also get ideas from their personal experiences, it's still best to continuously feed our minds. Life is a constant journey of learning and discovering things. We can't get all the information we need or want during our formal education alone, though it starts there of course. We don't stop gaining knowledge the moment we finish our studies. There are still more things to learn outside school, aside from the books we use and read in school and the teachings our professors impart to us. Moreover, we can't learn other stuffs based on our experiences alone. Every person has his/her own unique experiences and life is too short to experience everything. A person may have an interest for example, in sailing, and wants to write an article about it but he haven't really tried doing it or haven't seen it exactly for some reason. He can still write his article if he has a good knowledge about sailing which he gained through constantly reading books related to the topic. Read more to write more. =)
1 person likes this
• United States
27 Oct 10
Yes, "read more to write more" I have to agree! It offers the brain some well roundedness (if that's a word!)...that must eventually come out in one's writing as well!
@sylvia13 (1851)
• Nelson Bay, Australia
27 Oct 10
Writing and reading seem to go together, don't they? I started with just reading, enjoying it every time, but of late I have become interested in writing and was surprised to find that I enjoy it just as much! It keeps one's brain active and throughout the day one keeps on thinking about what one is writing all the time too! I must say I like it!
1 person likes this
• United States
27 Oct 10
Very true! One of the other posts talked about reading being a way of seeking for a creative outlet. I liked the way they said that! It does at least offer a path for the brain - and sometimes that purpose is only to be far removed from the day at hand!
• Philippines
27 Oct 10
I think its true that most writers are readers too. thats how they enhance their capability of how they write, how they get some techniques and even how to get inspired by their favorite writers and authors
1 person likes this
• United States
27 Oct 10
This is true, much inspiration can be found in reading the writings of others! And there is just so much to learn as well!
@chayapathys (2113)
• India
27 Oct 10
No.Most of the writers rarely read.They have no time to read stuff of others.They think and plan their own writing.Great authors are poor readers.Perhaps they don't want to waste their precious time in reading and instead that time could be spent in writing something new or novel.If they start reading they may get distracted and may copy the same ideas.In my opinion it is good that good writers are poor readers..
1 person likes this
• United States
27 Oct 10
Do you really think this generalization is true? I have several writer/friends and all of them are avid readers as well. Now I will admit I am not acquainted with every writer in the world! But most of the ones I know also enjoy a good tale!
1 person likes this
@cripfemme (7718)
• United States
27 Oct 10
I think this is true. I find it hard to write if I'm not reading and at least watching good, well written movies. It's good for the brain- as you said, the muse (mine's a bibliophile), and the soul.
• United States
27 Oct 10
Yes it is indeed good for the brain in all senses of the word!
@bloggeroo (2171)
• Philippines
27 Oct 10
Most probably, both reading and writing require a highly developed sense of sight. Besides, I think voracious readers evolve to become writers eventually. All the hours spent on reading seems to be looking for some kind of productive/creative outlet. Anyway, it seems inevitable that somebody who loves to read and has a large collection of books will become a writer. It seems to be a more natural progression of skills.
1 person likes this
• United States
27 Oct 10
You make some very good points here! I hadn't thought about it in that fashion. I appreciate your statement that reading is a way of looking for that creative outlet...good point my friend!