How do you become a better writer?
Some writers hole up in Northern Michigan to write, some sit in coffee shops, others conjoin with their kitchen tables as life carries on around them. There are writers who take classes and those who read classic books on structure, punctuation, and grammar; some have no experience or education, others have PhDs in literature. No matter where, when, and how you learn to write, there is ONE thing you MUST do to be a good writer: read books.
Like the old saying, “You are what you eat,” you are also what you read. The quality of what you read, the intention and effort behind the writing should be considered.
Why should you read books?
Blogs are often intended to increase search engine optimization. The more words in a blog, the higher a website’s SEO ranking. I can hear Hemmingway roll in his grave every time I publish a blog post. Blogs are good for seeking information or quick entertainment, but when learning to write well, reading too many blogs can cause more harm than good.
News articles are persuasive and cause a fear reaction. The intentions are centered around conflict. Without a resolution, the brain enters a state of chaos. People are left with the need to understand - which leads them to read the next news article, which increases the news’ website ratings and exposure.
Blogs and articles can be written well, and have wonderful intentions, but weeding out posts with underlying intentions can be difficult in this day and age.
Each word in a book must fight to be worthy. Books do not have to have word count, they do not need to include search engine phrases and there is no room for colloquial language. To be considered a book there must be elements like conflict, resolution, characters, transitions, causality, and theme. Good authors write books with passion, purpose, and hold high standards for grammar and punctuation. When we read this type of literature, our brains automatically pick up on these elements. We learn quality grammar, punctuation, format, and syntax.
Try this exercise
Write a one-page story about your favorite vacation. Then begin reading from a book daily for six months. At the end of six months, write another page story about your favorite vacation prior to reading the first one you wrote. Compare the two. Has your writing improved?
Love and Light,