Writers must be readers first. In fact, we could argue that reading just as important as writing. According to Stephen King, ‘If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have the time (or the tools) to write.” And we couldn’t agree more.
To that end, we’ve put together a go-to list of DIY MFA articles about reading. Our goal is to help you read with purpose so that you can make the most of your reading and writing time. Learn to choose books strategically and read with a writer’s eye.
Check out the reading resources page for tons of links and resources.
Reading the DIY MFA Way
There are three elements to reading with purpose. First, you have to build your writer’s library and be smart about the books you choose to read. This doesn’t mean loading your bookshelves with tomes you’ll never read. Instead, stock up on a few key types of books that will help your writing improve by leaps and bounds.
The next element is reading like a writer, and that means reading with an active eye. Don’t just think about what the author is saying, but think about how that author is saying it–and most importantly, think about how you can do it too.
Finally, you have to learn to respond to what you read. In structured school environments that means writing those literature papers. In the DIY MFA mindset, we look at reading responses a little differently. Keep a reading journal. Copy out your favorite lines from books you read. We haven’t delved too deeply yet into reading responses here at the site, but will be discussing this topic more in the future so stay tuned.
Reading with purpose means building a few good habits, but with little practice it can become second nature and the benefits for your writing are immeasurable.