Writers READ

The best piece of advice I'm able to offer would-be writers can be summed up in one word:  READ.  For me, reading was the key.

First, reading inspired me to want to become an author in the first place.  The books I fell in love with as a young reader like Henry Huggins by Beverly Cleary and Little House on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder planted the author seed in me even before I knew I wanted to write.  Later as an elementary school teacher, the books I read aloud to my third graders like The Hundred Dresses by Eleanor Estes and The Tiger Rising by Kate DiCamillo caused that author seed to grow, and my dream was born.  But simply having the dream to write a book doesn't necessarily make it happen.  As would-be authors often do, I spent many years collecting rejection letters, but it was my continued passion for reading, especially reading middle grade books, that taught me what I needed to know about what a story really must be in order for it to become a book.  Every book I've ever read, the ones I've loved, as well as the ones I haven't enjoyed all that much, were examples of how "story" actually works.  It was all those examples that allowed me to finally take one of my works-in-progress to the level necessary to achieve that sought-after acceptance letter instead of another rejection.

So, my best advice:  Spend time reading to unlock creative inspiration as well as gain wonderful examples of the essentials needed to write a great story.

Happy Writing and Reading,


  1. YES! You absolutely learn how story works by reading.

  2. Having been a librarian and reading for enjoyment much of my life, it took re-training for me to understand how to "read like a writer." But it was so very helpful! Tear books apart (okay, not literally). See what makes them work. Great post, Nancy.


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