Read Like a Writer

You know when you meet someone and they tell you their occupation, how you can nervously justify yourself to them? Like when your friend introduces their dad, the hairdresser. You subconsciously flatten your hastily-combed mop, whilst explaining what a busy morning you had with the kids, and how you don’t usually let your roots grow out this much. Or your new boyfriend is a personal trainer, and for ages you hide all the junk food in the house before he comes over. It’s not necessarily because you think they will judge you. It is because you know that as an expert in their field, they might notice more than the average person. They look with a trained eye.

If you want to be a writer, you can learn from your reaction to that hairdresser and your hot new boyfriend. Whenever you read something, look beyond just receiving the information or the entertainment value that might be provided. Notice the style, the way quotes have been used, the length of paragraphs, the construction of sentences. Appreciate the differences to your own voice. Learn to ask questions of the text. You’ll find the increased awareness helps to educate you and hopefully improve your own style.

6 thoughts on “Read Like a Writer

  1. Great insight. It kind of sucks though once you have that trained eye. You see all the flaws and none of the charm. But, still, great training for the writer. And many thanks for stopping by my blog. I appreciate it.

  2. Great idea. It kind of sucks though if you actually do this though. You lose all of the charm and see all of the flaws. However, it moves you forward as a writer, you see all of those weaknesses and can endeavor to fix them in your own writing. And, thanks for stopping by my blog. I appreciate it.

  3. Very informative! And as a matter of fact, I do that. I learn mostly by observing text and not by byhearting. Sometimes when the content is too good, I can’t resist reading the whole lot as soon as possible. But, when I finish doing that I come back and start analysing it. I must admit, by analysing the text we learn a lot more. Even when I write, I just don’t write, I rewrite over and over analysing my own sentences till it is fine to present.

  4. Wise words, all novices learn from the masters. What are you reading now? I’m 2/3rd of the way through ‘Wolf’, the new Mo Hayder. I’m learning about building tension, loosening it, building tension a bit tighter, loosening it, etc etc. SD

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