I’ve been writing stories for what seems like forever, but I’ve been reading even longer. Before I could read, my parents read to me, and once I learned to read there wasn’t a book set before me that wasn’t read (even if it was only to get a few pages in and realize I didn’t like it). I credit my voracious reading habits for my vocabulary (which lets me use big words like “voracious”) as well as my writing skills. Yes – reading helps you write!
A lot of people I talk to now and again whine and complain about how hard it is to write essays or emails or even punctuate correctly, and I’ve come to notice that a lot of this is because people don’t read. If you read, you pick up on things – even if you’re reading throw-away paperback romance novels, or (dare I say it? *gulp*) Twilight. Granted, the skill of writing may not be that of the writing greats like Mark Twain, but there are things to be learned from bad writing as well as good writing.
And if you’re one of the diligent readers, you can do as Maggie Stiefvater suggests and turn your “fun reading” books into textbooks (imagine that – textbooks that aren’t boring!) As part of my New Year’s resolution to regularly post on my blog, I’ll occasionally be doing just that – turning my favorite books/novels and even some of my own writing into textbooks. (I may be done with college but I’m not done learning!) For starters, check out my post about writing dialogue here. If you leave questions about writing in the comments, I just might make blog posts to answer them. 😉