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How Reading Slow Made Me A Better Writer

If you know me, you might also know that I am a slow reader. The book that some readers might finish in a few days would end up taking me months.

There are many reasons for my slow reading. Some of them are:
  • Lack of Focus: I keep zoning out while reading and have to go back to read the paragraph/lines again to get back on track.
  • Too Focused On Writing Style: I learned about punctuations and grammar mostly just from reading books. I observe where a comma is placed, I observe how dialogue marks are used, how a sentence is formed and so on.
  • I Read Everything: This is weird, but I feel guilty when I skip or speed-read even a word or a sentence. I have to swallow every word of a book.

Okay, so these are also some of the reasons why reading slow made me a better writer, especially, focusing on the writing style.

When you read faster, you often end up skipping minor details that can be of huge importance, like a comma.

So, how did slow reading make me a better writer?

  • It helped me expand my imagination: The slower I read, giving all the time a scene needed to unfold, the better I imagined it. When I read faster, I end up skipping forming the mental images of scenes, backgrounds, noises, scents, almost everything except the characters.
  • It improved my ability to catchy errors: Errors hardly ever skip your eyes when you are giving all your time and focus to reading. It actually helped me become a better editor because my writings still have errors until they are proofread.
  • It shaped my writing style: Until I had started reading novels, I used to think it's necessary to use vocabulary that makes people run for a dictionary every now and then. But then, I read books that were not my textbooks and realised how simple the word-usage was. This is the reason my writings always have simple words and diction. I don't want to post something that I won't like myself if someone's else had written it. I believe that the simpler the language, the more people read and relate to it.
  • It Improved my vocabulary: Of course, reading expands one's vocabulary no matter how good yours already is. But a slow reader does not feel lazy in looking up a word that they don't know the meaning of.
  • Made me want to play with the words: Reading itself makes you want to start writing. When you see words put together on paper one after the other, you can do nothing but want to play with them on paper and create something yourself.

This is how my writing improved over the years. Reading has always been helpful in more than one ways for me.


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