Displaying items by tag: music of language, writing tips

Tuesday, 23 February 2016 01:16

The Importance of Reading for Writers

I’m probably not the only writer out there disturbed by the number of people I encounter these days wanting or attempting to write a book when they don’t read them.

To me this is like someone trying to learn to play an instrument who never listens to music.

In the years I taught violin, whenever I started a new crop of beginners I could always tell which ones listened to music at home and which ones didn’t.

The ones that did had a concept of the sound of the instrument already in their inner ear. And somehow, from the first time they touched their bow to the strings, that internalized concept guided their efforts. You could hear the difference.

It has to be the same with writers and reading. All the how-to-write books and courses in the world can’t help someone get the music of language into their heads. The rhythm and articulation of the words, the flow of well-constructed sentences, syntax, dialogue, etc. are things that can only be assimilated through repeated exposure.

If you don’t read fine work, how can you expect fine work to come out of you?

I guess in a way it’s the old ‘wax on, wax off’ principle:  Good writing in, good writing out.

Published in On writing