Reading Resources

Here at DIY MFA, we believe that reading is just as important as writing. In fact, Stephen King says, “‘If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have the time (or the tools) to write.” And we think there’s something to that.

When we read as writers, we indirectly learn about the craft of writing. We learn what works and what doesn’t, and we use what we discovered to find out solutions to problems we face in our own work. Reading like a writer not only helps us put our work into context, it can actually help us save time and energy by helping us identify which techniques to use in a given scenario.

But with all the writing we have to do, how are we supposed to find time to read? The secret is reading with purpose. You’ll save time and shelf space when you invest only in books you actually need (we’ll help you choose), and learn to read with a writer’s eye. Here are our best DIY MFA articles to help you read with purpose.

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Choosing What to Read

The Essentials: Books On Writing I Can’t Live Without Your writing library should consist of three types of books: books about the craft of writing, collections of prompts and exercises, and one or two books about the writing life, for inspiration.

Learning From the Masters When it comes to your reading list, there are four types of books you should have on it: Competitive Books, Informative Books, Contemporary Books and Classics. Whatever books you have on there depend on your current writing project.

Build Your Reading List Now that you know the types of books that should be in your library, the rest is up to you! Using the custom-made DIY MFA worksheet provided, create your reading list.

Anthologies and Collections: Putting Stories Together to Tell Bigger Stories What exactly are anthologies, and why are they valuable to a reader-writer like you? They’re collections of short stories, and for one thing, you don’t have to read from start to finish!

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How to Read Like a Writer

Why Writers Must Be Readers First We get it. Reading and writing are both important. But they aren’t separate activities; rather, as Richard Nash says, they’re opposite sides of the same interaction.

3 Steps to Reading With Purpose You’ve chosen the books. What’s next? Learn the techniques you need to read like a revolutionary and respond to what you read, and then apply them to your own reading habits.

Read Like An Agent Literary agents are looking for a strong voice, characters to root for and some juicy action.

Creative Practical Reading Also known as CPR, Creative Practical Reading involves focusing on the basics first, and then analyzing some of the bigger issues or questions that may arise as you continue to read.

Size Matters: Reading Short Form Literature What is short form literature? Why is it important for you as a writer? We break it down for you.

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  • Janet Sellers

    Anybody else join yet? I am an experienced writer with 12 years experience writing and publishing essays, columns and news articles, as well as photography. I prefer writing non-fiction, but have won awards for fiction and poetry. One award was for a fiction chapter treatment, awarded by Harper Collins.