4 Reasons Why Writing Can Make You a Better Reader

It's no secret that the skills of writing and reading are intimately linked. For those who wish to become professional writers, it is expected that they will obtain a library of books in order to draw inspiration and learn from. However, the other side of the coin is rarely discussed.

How important is it to use writing in order to improve your reading abilities? Here are a few ideas on that.

1. Learn How the Sausage is Made

There is a certain empathy we experience when watching or reading about work we have personally experienced and skills we have obtained. We cannot help but critique them and project our own opinions on to what we are consuming. This is quite a bit different from learning about something with no personal point of reference.

When we begin to write for ourselves we begin to get an idea of the work that goes into a book. It's fairly tedious work, and while fun, it can feel laborious having to force yourself to do it. This can change how you perceive a book. What was easy to take for granted before might now seem more constructed or complicated. You start to realize that someone put a lot of effort into writing each word, and how the story must have been outlined and thought out before the story can even begin.

2. How Might You Approach The Same Subject?

Realizing that books are completely biased is something of an eye opener for some people. Narrators and characters present themselves and being truthful, at least within the world of the book. But knowing that a writer was sitting down with a specific story and goal in mind changes how we interpret what we read. A good question to ask yourself in order to see the subject matter in an objective light would be, “How would I have approached the same subject?” Would you have tried to give a more balanced story? Hide certain details? Favor the characters written in as antagonists?

Writing allows you to construct your own worlds, and to express your ideas. This helps you when analyzing other people’s ideas. The fun part of it all is that there are no right answers. When people come to the same subject with different morals and opinions we can create a large pool of ideas conversing with one another. Writing allows you to throw your own ideas into this pool.

3. Learn to Look for Different Nuances

When you begin writing you’ll start to notice the distinct voices between authors. Some are incredibly casual, others very formal. Some love to include a specific variety of details while others hold back and focus on less physical descriptions. There are nuances in books that go beyond plot points and physical descriptions. It can be hard to notice the simple act of putting words together when you are used to focusing on the overall story, but writing can teach you to focus on the care that can go into each sentence while also keeping the big picture in focus. 

4. Become a Humble Critique

It's quite fun criticizing famous and acclaimed works. Personally, I enjoy disagreeing with my friends, just to see their opinions on different stories. There is, however, a certain humbleness that goes along with writing when you critique someone else's work. In the same way that people who participate in sports or play music understand the level of effort needed to become the best, writing will give you insight into how much work someone put into learning to be a writer before creating that story you read. There is a certain humbleness that will enable you to more fairly critique others and give more constructive thoughts. In a sense, it brings your expectations of something closer to reality.