Become a Better Writer: Read!

There are hundreds of tips and tricks to better your writing, all of which are great to implement into your repertoire, but the most repeated mantra for becoming a successful writer is this: read a lot and write a lot. And really, there's no wrong way to do this. You can read anything and write anything and it will show up in the mechanics of your manuscript, but I wanted to narrow this advice down for you. What exactly should you be reading and writing a lot of?

If you are writing a young adult fantasy, then read young adult fantasy! Now here's the secret: Read the bestsellers, the self-published and the works-in-progress in your genre—the good, the bad, and the ugly. Why? Because you get to experience, as a reader, why something works vs. why it doesn't. Everyone knows why you should read the good examples: to see how it should be done. But, why must we read the bad examples?

Upon finishing my first ever manuscript, I thought I'd finished a freaking masterpiece. . . Until I sat down and read someone else's self-proclaimed masterpiece. I volunteered as a beta reader for another aspiring author, and just like a bug hitting a windshield, my manuscript that was perfect—the work of art I'd slaved over for months and months—hit the figurative windshield. I saw all the mistakes I'd made, made by someone else, and I no longer was blinded by the golden rays shining off of my hard work. I saw first hand why those mistakes ruined that manuscript—and mine. It is just as important to see how a book should be written as it is to see how it shouldn't.

Which brings me to the other half of the secret. Write a lot. If you're serious about writing a book, if you're serious about getting that book in the main-stream, then you'll need to write that book a lot. It might take you ten sentences before you land on the right sentence so to speak, and your book will be all the better for it!

There you go, the secret to getting the most out of the age-old writing advice. Read what you write and write what you want to be read. A lot.

Author: Cortney Winn

Cortney Winn

Writer, baker, speaker, mom. I’ll just come out and admit it, I like Twilight. And while I’m admitting things, I'm a die-hard romantic. I enjoy building raw chemistry between my characters and bitter-sweet endings.