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Kirsten Saylor

Put It In Writing

Put It In Writing: Becoming a great writer comes with more than just writing

Many people want to become better writers. Being a great writer is something people should aspire to be. However, you’re not going to become a great writer just by writing. Yes, practicing will improve your writing to a certain degree, but it is not the only thing (or necessarily the best thing) to help you become a better writer. The best way to improve your writing is to read.  It may sound cliché, or maybe it’s something you’ve never really heard, but reading is the No. 1  way to improve your own writing. Reading allows you to explore different styles, words, structures and worlds that you may have never considered for yourself. Reading isn’t merely looking at the words on a page; reading is opening up your mind to a unique realm full of knowledge.Not only does reading allow you, as the reader, to discover what appeals to you, but it also exercises your mind. Joseph Addison, an 18th century writer, once said, “Reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body.” When exercising, you build resilience and strength in your muscles, keeping them fit and agile. Reading does the exact same thing, but for your mind. When you read, you are exercising your brain by mentally cataloguing dialogue and imagining scenarios through words on paper. This only goes to increase your intelligence, thus making you a better reader and a writer.Read everything you can get your hands on. Read full length novels of every genre. Read the classics. Read the newest releases. Read short stories by independent authors on the internet. Read Edgar Allan Poe’s short stories. Read newspapers, articles and essays from local providers and websites. Read poetry. No matter what it is, read it. It could provide you with insight that you may not notice on your own.Stephen King, the author of “The Shining” and “Pet Cemetery,” has a quote which goes well: “If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have the time (or the tools) to write. Simple as that.” You have to make the time to read in order to improve your writing. Whether you can only fit in one chapter of a book a night or if you can finish an entire novel in a few days, do it. Even 10 minutes of reading is better than not reading at all.Read when you can, write when you can and watch your writing improve before your eyes. It’s amazing how quickly you can progress if you continuously read and write. You will find what works for you through this process, and your writing will begin to feel like you. All you have to do is exercise your brain a little.Kirsten Saylor is a freshman studying English. Email her at

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