Natasha McNeely's Author Blog

Never stop dreaming, 'cause the day you stop dreaming, is the day you stop living.

Reading: Why will it help you write?


I’m sure just about every writer has heard something akin to, “If you want to write, read a lot.” Why am I bringing this up? Because there actually is a lot of truth to that! Believe it or not, but reading books is an essential part of writing books.


English: Managing emotions - Identifying feelings

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Well, let’s take a look at that, shall we?

  • Inspiration

So, you’re stripped for ideas. You know you want to write, but you just can’t seem to get that spark that will ignite into an awesome burst of inspiration that your muse unleashes upon you. So, what do you do to get some inspiration?

You read!

Think of it this way. You just finished this amazing book about shape shifters. Even while you’re still reading, your mind starts molding the concept of the book you’re reading. It changes things, sprinkles in some things that will make it unique – will make it yours. That, my friends, is how you get inspiration. Read a book, any book, and it’s bound to spark some interest.

  • Style

So, you have a wonderful idea and can’t wait to get started on it, because it will be perfect. Well, it pains me to say that probably won’t be the case.

Write a book without reading anything for a long time. Now, read a couple of pages of a book, then work on your novel. You’ll realize that you’ll snatch some of the style out of the book and inject it into yours. That’s fine. By reading and trying out new styles, we develop the style that will ultimately be ours – that will work for us.

A bit of guidance is the way to go, both when it comes to inspiration, and how exactly to write your book.

This ties into the earlier section. Point of view, not to mention the tense you write your story in. First person, second person, third person? Not to mention present or past tense? That’s six possibilities. Of course, you could mix multiple types, but let’s just stick to one to be on the safe side, shall we?

Reading books, particularly ones in your novel’s genre, will give you a feel for what other writers choose to do and will give you the chance to toy with the different types and figure out what will work for you, as a writer.

  • Characterization

How do your characters act? How do people act? There are so many situations characters can be thrust into, so many emotions that overflow as a cause of those situations.  You can look around you and see the emotions – but how do you describe them? Testing how others describe emotions, and build tension for characters, will aid you in the long run.

Just because Jane writes “Her face lit up like a summer day.”, doesn’t mean you have to write it like that. However, it gives you ideas and from there, you can move on and figure out how you will express emotions.

These are only four things that are important when it comes to writing, and that reading will help you with. There are other, smaller things, that are important, but you’re bound to come across them during your journey through many, many books.

Never stop reading. If you want to write, then support the authors around you! You’d be amazed how much their novels support you in return.

Do you read a lot, and do you have anything you’d like to add to this list? Let me know in the comments!

Author: Natasha McNeely

I'm a writer, reader, gamer and a dreamer. I love losing myself to thought and considering possibilities. That is how I create my stories and weave the erratic tales into readable ones.

10 thoughts on “Reading: Why will it help you write?

  1. Great post. As a result of reading books in first person/first person present tense I’m experimenting with moving out of my own writing comfort zones. I’ve always written in third person! It’s fun to experiment but I never would have done it without seeing good examples in the books I read.

    • Thank you!
      I tend to switch between either first person or third person, depending on the story in question. I’ve never written in present tense before, though! Maybe I’ll give it a try sometime.

  2. Another thing reading does, and I tell my students this, is it humbles you. If you ever got big headed because you wrote a poem, short story or piece of nonfiction that you felt was your best and people told you so, reading other writers will show you that there are others just as talented, if not more.

    • I very much agree. As a writer, or any form of artist in general, there is always that moment when you get a bit too proud because of something you created. It’s always good to remember that you aren’t the only one out there.

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  7. I’m so thankful that you wrote this, and that PubIt’s Facebook page linked to it! I keep catching myself trying to “sneak” into books, and telling myself that they steal from my productivity, but it does always seem that when I go back to writing, it is with renewed perspective and energy! Thanks for sharing!

    • Thank you for your lovely comment! I’m glad this post helped you realize that reading is productive – just as much as writing is! It can seem like reading steals your productivity, but it really doesn’t.

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