A writer’s choice
If you look across the internet for what writers recommend you do to improve your own writing, there are usually two things that regularly come up; do more writing and do more reading. The saying goes that ‘practice makes perfect’ and the more you write, the better, it is assumed, you become. I certainly believe that is the case for improving your grammar and learning the craft of writing, i.e., how to set out your work etc.
To read or not to read
The other recommendation is to read more. It has been said that if we do not read, we write in a vacuum. If this is true, then I must write in a vacuum, because I spend very little time reading other people’s work. When I do any reading, it is research. Stephan King, the author, said, “Can I be blunt on this subject? If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have the time (or the tools) to write. Simple as that.” I would argue with this statement. I don’t have much time to read, as I am too busy writing.
There are merits
I do not dismiss what others believe in the merits of reading; it exposes you to different styles of writing, other forms and genres, and works that are better than yours, which might help you improve. And if reading copiously does all these things for you, then that is great. I just don’t do this myself. I read to find the necessary information I need for the book I am writing at that time.
A different opinion
And there seems to be a few other writers around who agree with me. Roberto Estreitinho said, “We consume much more than we create, we read much more than we think, and it should be the other way around. We have to make sure we consume the things that truly matter to us, but only so that we have time to create something that matters to someone else.” Estreitinho does not suggest you stop reading but to change the way you read, i.e., skipping sections of writings, if they give you nothing much; thus, saving time and energy, no doubt. So, if, like me, you do not do much reading, try not to feel guilty or think you should read to improve your own writing … the jury seems to be out on that.
5 Unconventional Ways to Become a Better Writer (Hint: It’s About Being a Better Reader) – Belle Beth Coper.