Breathing in and Breathing Out
“If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all others: read a lot and write a lot.” – Stephen King
I have often heard that to be a better writer, one must become a better reader. This means reading as much as you can as often as you can, maybe reading the words precisely and deliberately, maybe just enjoying the story as it unfolds.
It is very important to read the new books that sit on the shelves at Barnes and Noble as a reader. These books help us gain a better understanding of the market we are trying to write in, but it also helps us become acquainted with the evolution of books. Even if we do not read the genre in which we write, we are still becoming a better writer just by cracking open a new book, feeling the spine in our fingers.
Devouring any stories, old or new, is extremely important in making someone more conscious of the words they use in their own writing, but it also helps create a better relationship with books in general. After all, this makes complete sense, to practice from the reader’s point of view.
I know it was my love of reading and books that made me want to be a writer, so it is only natural to indulge into that comforting trait and remind myself why I decided to become a writer to begin with.
For me, I love getting acquainted with new characters and worlds, and I want to give readers this sensation in my own writing, but I need to know what that looks and feels like, so I have to keep reading.
Since starting college, though, I have not had much time to read in my spare time, and I can tell that it has hurt my writing abilities a lot. I have so many books that I crave to read, and I stare at them longingly as they sit on my dusty bookshelf, but I often feel too tired to pick them up just because of my busy schedule. When I do have the time, more often than not, I decide to write instead.
This is pretty pathetic compared to how much I used to read–at least one to two books a week– but I am so proud of myself for trying to read more. I want to be one with words: producing and ingesting them. I want them to be like the blood in my veins; I want my lungs to be a library, pulling in books with every inhale, so that I know I have to read in order to breathe, in order to live.
I love books so much, and I regret letting them escape from my grasp the last few years. As the months progress, I hope this achievement only grows.
But we all learn how to change, so this is what I am doing to become a better writer and a better reader. And along the way, I think I will be a better version of myself, too.
“Reading is like breathing in. Writing is like breathing out.” – Pam Allyn