One of My Favorite Aspects of Writing
It is not what you would expect.
I’ve found that there is one aspect of writing that makes it so enjoyable. That aspect — is reading.
I’ve always been an avid reader. I love to consume and read books on a variety of subjects. I think time spent reading and writing go hand-and-hand and complement each other quite well.
What makes writing so enjoyable for me is being able to research, read, and construct my thoughts on a subject. I’ll get more into this in a little bit, but first, it’s essential to address what reading independently does to improve our writing.
Not all writers will be avid readers.
There is a famous quote attributed to author Stephen King:
“If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have the time (or tools) to write.”
I think there is some truth to this statement, but not everyone is an excellent writer just by being a frequent reader. Many writers don’t necessarily read a lot to improve their writing. A blog post by Antara Raisa Rahman looked at how forming a reading habit for adults can be difficult with so many distractions in our lives. For some, the ability to continually refocus our thoughts back to reading can be challenging. According to Rahman:
“It is understandable that most of us don’t really have a reading habit — we are generally a very distracted society. It doesn’t really make sense if we hold on to a theory that might not necessarily work for us.”
Rahman acknowledges that some writers will have difficulty and won’t see a benefit in their writing by forming a reading habit, while others will see these benefits. Ultimately, it comes down to what strategies work best for the individual writer.
The advantages I see in reading.
To me personally, I’ve found many benefits that reading has to my writing. The more books you do read, the easier it is to understand quality vocabulary, grammar, and prose. I find much inspiration as well, just from reading other articles on the Medium platform that help elevate and inspire my next piece.
Reading is also a crucial step in developing well-researched and quality writing. It is a necessary step that I’ve found to be very enjoyable.
Let’s say you’re writing an article on how to speak confidently to a group of colleagues during a business meeting. Maybe you’re a corporate executive who has much experience in this domain, and you would like to share your knowledge with others. You can draw upon personal points and anecdotes that make your writing distinctive, but if you don’t include other people’s ideas to back up your own, your article will lack credibility.
This is when reading comes into play. Instead of giving your view on the topic of public speaking to business colleagues, you now have to do some research and learn more yourself from other experts and researchers. You’ll want to read excerpts from books, articles, and scientific journals to back up your claims.
Now not all pieces of writing will require this research phase. Many examples of fiction won’t necessarily need lots of research on background information. However, for many of the pieces of writing that I want to get curated on Medium, supporting claims with evidence and outside views is crucial. This research phase of writing may be a drag to some, but to me, it’s exhilarating.
Even if I’m a self-proclaimed expert on a topic, I don’t store all the facts up in my head. Writing concise and coherent Medium articles requires me to do some research on topics I’m already familiar with, and to critically evaluate these sources so that I can construct my interpretations and come to a better understanding for the reader.
The process of reading and researching to me is intellectually stimulating and also just plain delightful; this is because I love to learn, and I love to read. With this appreciation, I’ve found more gratification in writing.