Skip to main content

Reading to Motivate Writing

The Daily Writer by Fred White

Successful writers are omnivores—gluttons—when it comes to reading because they are continually fascinated by yet another way of telling a story, of new ways of using language to evoke sensory impressions, to transport us to other times and places. Reading omnivorously means reading outside the boundary of storytelling that is most similar to your own. Do you like writing mysteries a la Sue Grafton and Jonathan Kellerman? Then read Virginia Woolf and Ernest Hemingway. Do you like to write lighthearted fiction? Then read Dostoevesky and Strindberg. If you’re a poet with a penchant for composing Wordsworthian pastoral meditations via Petrarchan sonnets, then take the time to read poets with modernist sensibilities like T.S. Eliot and Anne Sexton. You will learn much from reading authors whose modes of storytelling, writing styles, and world views are very different from your own.

Image placeholder title

FOR FURTHER REFLECTION
Reading of any kind can prove to be an excellent way to re-kindle the writing flame. That’s because when we read we’re indulging ourselves in the primal pleasure that made us want to become writers in the first place: magically shaping language into stories, into other worlds that we can venture into.

TRY THIS
1. Pick up a book or magazine and, with pen and paper within easy reach, begin reading one of its stories or articles. Your aim here is to be on the alert for whatever it is in the piece of writing that triggers an idea, however vague. As soon as it comes stop reading and jot it down.
2. Go over the notes you’ve taken for #1 above; select one of them to work into a story or essay.

Larry Beinhart: On Rejection Leading to Mystery

Larry Beinhart: On Rejection Leading to Mystery

Award-winning author Larry Beinhart discusses what he learned in the process of writing his new mystery novel, The Deal Goes Down.

writer's digest wd presents

WD Presents: A Competition Announcement, 6 WDU Courses, and More!

This week, we're excited to announce our self-published e-book awards, 6 WDU courses, and more!

Leah Franqui: On Killing Our Critical Inner Voices

Leah Franqui: On Killing Our Critical Inner Voices

Award-winning playwright and author Leah Franqui discusses how she examined her life through a fictive lens with her new novel, After the Hurricane.

Pacing Your Fight Scene (FightWrite™)

Pacing Your Fight Scene (FightWrite™)

Trained fighter and author Carla Hoch discusses how to pace your story's fight scene and shares three examples from writers who tackle pacing differently.

Writing Mistakes Writers Make: Rushing the Drafting Process

Writing Mistakes Writers Make: Rushing the Drafting Process

The Writer's Digest team has witnessed many writing mistakes over the years, so this series helps identify them for other writers (along with correction strategies). This week's mistake is rushing the drafting process.

Kwana Jackson: On Finding the Right Home for Your Story

Kwana Jackson: On Finding the Right Home for Your Story

USA Today bestselling author Kwana Jackson discusses writing her new romance novel, Knot Again.

Jaden Terrell Killer Writers Post 2

A Conversation With Jaden Terrell on Writer Expectations, Part 2 (Killer Writers)

Killer Nashville founder Clay Stafford continues his conversation with novelist Jaden Terrell about writer expectations and success.

Plot Twist Story Prompts: Antagonist Reappears

Plot Twist Story Prompts: Antagonist Reappears

Every good story needs a nice (or not so nice) turn or two to keep it interesting. This week, have an antagonist reappear.

Karen Rose: On Characters Showing Up in the Writing Process

Karen Rose: On Characters Showing Up in the Writing Process

Award-winning author Karen Rose discusses the surprising joy of secondary characters in her new romantic suspense novel, Quarter to Midnight.