“If you read good books, when you write, good books will come out of you.”
I believe this is a truth that goes beyond writing. When we surround ourselves with positive, supportive people, we in turn become more positive and supportive, fostering a nurturing environment that is conductive to achieving our fullest potential — as writers and as human beings.
Reading Good Books
Whenever I revisit Goldberg’s quote, I am reminded that the stories I take in though film, television, and of course, books, have a strong impact on what I write. The quality and content of my work is subject to these influences.
That doesn’t mean I never read books that are mediocre. I learn from those too. But I try to spend more time studying the greats, with the hope that some of their brilliance will rub off on my own writing.
Books on craft are just as important as reading quality fiction and poetry. From broader books on writing like Goldberg’s own Writing Down the Bones (aff link) to form-specific works on writing fiction, poetry, and creative nonfiction, books on writing are an excellent way to enhance your writing skills and ensure that you write good books of your own.
Writing Good Books
Without filling your coffers with good ideas, good words, and good books, it will be impossible for you to write well. That’s why it’s critical for all writers to stock their shelves (or e-readers) with plenty of quality content that will inform and inspire their future works.
As you shop for good books to read, think carefully about how they will affect your writing. Look for books that will help you master your form and genre; look for authors whose words will enhance your language; and look for books that will impart the skills and techniques you need to reach your fullest potential as a writer.
What do you read? When you choose books, do you consider how they will affect your work? Do you ever pause to think about how your reading affects your writing? Share your thoughts and experiences by leaving a comment, and keep writing!