From my most recent post at The Blazing Center:
Has there ever been a great writer who wasn’t a great reader? That’s like asking if there has ever been a great baseball player who has never watched baseball. It’s almost a nonsense question.
But, unlike baseball, there are numerous people who seek to compose works without having read deeply and widely. Not everyone watches or plays baseball, but language is common to everyone. We all communicate via the spoken and written word, therefore people feel they can write. And in the most basic sense of writing (group of words makes up a sentence, group of sentences make up a paragraph, top to bottom, left to right) that’s true.
But good writing is a product of good thinking. Good thinking is a product of good reading. And in order to write well OR think well one must read well.
So I ask you these three questions, writers (and humans with brains):
What are you reading?
That is, what is its quality and its message? Is it worth absorbing both artistically and intellectually? There is some small value in reading bad books for the sake of knowing what makes books bad. There is some small value in reading books purely for mindless entertainment. But these should be treated like candy, not the majority of your caloric intake.
How widely are you reading?
. . .
How much are you reading?
. . .