If you don’t read, you’ll never write as well as you could. I could make the blanket statement that, “If you don’t read, you can’t know how to write,” and probably be accurate for about 98% of the writers out there.
Most writers have a love of reading. Reading is what inspired them to write, in most cases, stirring their imaginations and transporting them into worlds previously unexplored. Reading is a comfort. The characters are friends; the places are as familiar as home.
I understand there are authors who have precious little pleasure-reading time, but these are not the writers I’m talking about. The ones I’m talking about use the same tired plot devices and phrases because they don’t read enough to know how tired and overused those things are.
Creative storytelling is a gift—a talent that some people have in abundance and some people have in small portions. It can’t be learned in the same way other skills can be taught and learned. But the basics of writing really don’t change from one generation to the next. Not in a “macro” way, anyway. There are nuances of style that might sway with the trends, but the basics of spelling, grammar, punctuation and structure can and should be learned.
My posts for this month have been all about understanding the writing process in one way or another, whether from the pre-publishing or post-production end of things. I firmly believe that a writer can not write effectively unless he understands his craft. If you don’t know the foundations of how to write, you need to learn them, and that’s that.
But only if you want to excel.