Over the years, many have searched for the ‘best’ creative writing tip out there. The fact is that one of the most important tips has no direct link to writing. You may have heard this advice before, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you don’t need to hear it again: READING is the single most important skill that aspiring writers need to hone in order to write better. Read until your brain is filled, then read some more.
Writer William Faulkner knew the importance of reading for writing, saying, ‘Read, read, read. Read everything – trash, classics, good and bad, and see how they do it. Just like a carpenter who works as an apprentice and studies the master. Read! You’ll absorb it. Then write.’
Devour every book within your reach, then move within reach of more. Hunt down and explore new, unfamiliar genres. Haunt libraries. Allow the words to seep into your soul. Ask friends for book recommendations. Check out second-hand bookshops and see what’s on sale near you. Read reviews online to find out what new novels you may enjoy. Try delving into non-fiction as inspiration for fiction. Join a book club and really throw yourself into analysing the chosen novel.
Mix things up a bit! Ask your grandparents what their favourite books of all time are, then see if you agree. Force yourself to study self-editing tips and tricks to truly make an effort to understand grammar and the nuances of the English language. Note down what you like and dislike about each author’s style in the books you read. How are the characters fleshed out? What elements come together to make a good plot? Read interviews of your favourite authors. What do they have to say about finding inspiration and their writing process? Learn from the masters!
As author Stephen King (you may have heard of him!) once said:
‘If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have the time — or the tools — to write. Simple as that.’
So, which book is your favourite of all time? What in particular do you love about it? What elements of it – stylistic or otherwise – have you taken as inspiration for your own writing? Drop us a quick comment below – we’d love to hear from you!