When Reading IS Writing

I’m going to be honest. I know I haven’t posted”recently.” And here’s the reason:

Ideally, I’d like to alternate my posts between the topics of reading with kids and writing for kids. So, I’ve been due for a post about writing for kids. Here’s where the honesty comes in. I haven’t been writing.

For a few days I’ve been mentally beating myself up, knowing I need to post, but not having anything to post about. (I’m sure this is a common blogger problem.) But, here’s the thing: I haven’t been lazy in my writing life. I’ve actually been reading up on the revision process. Ding, ding, ding! Of course! Reading about writing is part of the writing process. It has to be. And I’m guessing every serious writer knows it. So, today I decided this is the time to remind writers that reading is writing.

Here’s why reading is writing:

  1. The only way to be an expert on something is to study it. If we writers are going to be experts on words, we need to immerse ourselves in words.
  2. The only way to know the theories of your field, is to listen to or read about them from experts. Scientists do it. Doctors do it. Teachers do it. We should do it too! We should read about how to write, from those who know what they’re talking about (even if we think we know what we’re talking about.)
  3. We broaden our own knowledge when we read. I’m not just talking about gaining knowledge of ways to write (like in number 2.) When we read we learn how other writers use different elements of style. We broaden our own vocabulary. We absorb proper grammar.

So, I say this to encourage you. Even if you aren’t currently working on a manuscript, but you are reading, you are honing your craft. And it doesn’t even have to be limited to literature about writing. Read childrens’ books too! Read to your kids. Take an excursion to the local bookstore and plop yourself in the kids’ section, with or without your own kids. It’s research. Don’t underestimate it.

If you’re reading a great book about the craft of writing, let me know about it in the comments. We can add them to our lists of books to check out!

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