To Write, You Must Read

February 2nd, 2015 • filed under Writing

“If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all others: read a lot and write a lot…reading is the creative center of a writer’s life…you cannot hope to sweep someone else away by the force of your writing until it has been done to you.” ~ Stephen King

Arguably one of the best fantasy and sci-fi writers of all time with almost four hundred different works written including such epic titles as Carrie, Salem’s Lot, It, Mr. Mercedes, Revival, and more, Stephen Kind makes a great point. With the onslaught of bite-sized media coming at us from all angles (tweets, status updates, Instagram photos) it’s now mainstream to only spend a few minutes reading about any particular topic.

I’ll admit, I enjoy bite-sized news as much as the next guy. When I’m checking social media, I’m doing it for one of two reasons: to get a quick update on the day and the world around me and to find something interesting to read about later. The key is the latter. I think if more people sat down and read a book (or at least listened to one), or even consumed more thoughtful and substantial information via something like a Podcast or another educational resource (a single-topic magazine, for example), we’d be overflowing with creativity as a people. Don’t get me wrong, there are loads of creative people in the world, already, and that’s awesome. But there are so many people that have so much to share, but don’t, for one reason or another.

What would have happened if Stephen King never published any of his works because he didn’t feel like they were interesting or he was a good enough writer? You never know who’ll come across your work someday, and in order to be good at writing, one has to be good at reading. I’ve consumed quite a few of Stephen King’s books, personally, and while I started writing for several reasons, his writing stimulated my creative juices in part just enough to help me get to the point where I write something every day of the week.