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On the Importance of Reading


Whenever I meet people who confess that they’ve always wanted to write, I always ask what they are reading right now because reading preferences are often an indicator of the kinds of writing an aspiring writer would like to pursue. I’m perplexed, quite frankly, when the answer comes back, “Oh, I’m not much of a reader.”

Why do you want to write if you don’t read magazine articles, books, the newspaper, blogs and websites that spark your imagination? How do you expect to grow as a writer if you aren’t challenging yourself to read like one?

The best writing teachers are other authors. Losing yourself in the stories of other writers informs your own practice. Reading is essential to the craft of writing. It helps you to fall in love with language; suss out the choices an author makes in developing characters, constructing sentences, pacing paragraphs, building tension.

Reading outside of class is a cornerstone of all courses at The Refinery Writing Studio. So, my first piece of writerly advice if you wish to begin writing in 2018 is to read voraciously—everything you can get your hands on—and begin to question the choices the writer made in telling her story.

Happy reading!

Maggie Harney