Frequently Asked Question: It’s been said that the benefits of becoming a writer who does not read is that all your ideas are new and original. Everything you do is an extension of yourself, instead of a mixture of you and another author. On the other hand, how can you expect other people to want your writing, if you don’t enjoy reading? What are your thoughts?
So, this question once again comes from the Insecure Writer’s Support Group. I’m not going to lie; some months, I wonder what the hell they’re thinking.
This is one of those times.
I’m somewhat afraid that my response will be shorter than the question, to be honest!
From where I sit, you cannot be a competent writer, let alone a good one, unless you are a voracious reader. You need to learn sentence structure, vocabulary and, frankly, what it’s like to have your breath taken away by brilliant prose. You learn what makes a story work, what tropes matter if you do genre fiction, and more. It’s important to read widely, across both fiction and non-fiction work, because both will improve your craft.
Besides, there are no “new and original” stories in the world. They all come from myths and archetypes far older than we are … no matter what story you’re talking about.