Who are you reading?

This post was first shared in Issue 4 of the writing advice column of my newsletter These Sacred Words.

“Who are you reading?”

It’s one of the first questions I am often asked by writing mentors when I am struggling with some aspect of my writing. And it’s become one of the questions that I most love to ask other writers.

Who we read shapes how we write.

Are you reading the news? Heavy theological books? Encouraging biographies of heroes of the faith? Captivating fantasy stories? Instagram captions? Buzfeed articles?

In so many ways, what we put in informs what comes out, and writing is no exception. 

I encourage you to consider what type of writer you want to be. Do you want to be a writer who is concise and clear? Flowy and poetic? Vulnerable and deep? 

Really think about what kind of message you want to convey and how you want to say it. Then find the authors who are writing in that way and read them obsessively. Learn from them. Observe how they weave words together and take note of what exactly it is that you love most about their writing.

Don’t worry. Reading other authors won’t make you lose your own writing style. Rather, it will help you grow tremendously in how you communicate. So what are you waiting for? Get to reading!

Need suggestions for what to read? Check out these book reviews!

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