"The universe is made of stories, not of atoms."
—Muriel Rukeyser

Guest Post: Write, Read, Repeat by Sandra Beckwith

A Ray Bradbury comment about writing got me thinking about the many
Sandra Beckwith
successful writers and authors I know.

I discovered that they have three things in common – and those things are reflected in the Bradbury quote I’m sharing 

The best writers I know do two things daily: They write and they read.

They also get feedback on their writing from people who can evaluate it objectively and provide honest input — “This part confused me,” or “I found the unusual character names distracting.”

Growing and improving as a writer involves soliciting and incorporating feedback you can trust.

But it also takes practice. That comes from writing daily.

It also requires reading — lots of it.

I’m always surprised when I see an author-to-be comment, “I don’t read” or “I’m not much of a reader.”

How can that be? How do you know what good writing looks like if you don’t see it regularly by reading what others write?

Can you really find your way through a writing problem without studying how others have resolved that dilemma?

What about creative inspiration? How can you be creative or innovative when you don’t know how others structure their stories?

How do you know whether your writing meets conventional standards if you don’t read what others write?

You don’t need to look far to validate this theory that good writers are big readers — just turn to Facebook.

If your connections on that social network are like mine, you’ll see that the posts with correct spelling and grammar are probably from people who also comment about what they’re reading, whether it’s articles or books. Reading teaches you — in the most pleasant way possible — correct spelling, sentence structure, and grammar.

You absorb what’s “right” without instruction or lectures.

It’s important to repeat both steps continually. It’s like anything else — the more you do it, the easier it becomes.

When you learned how to ride a bike as a kid, you weren’t very good at it at first, were you? As you got feedback — “Keep pedaling!” or “Look straight ahead!” — you improved. The more you practiced, the better you got.

It works that way with writing, too.

It works the same way with reading. The more you read, the more you learn about how to present your information, whether you write fiction or nonfiction.

Take Ray Bradbury’s word for it: The “write, read, repeat” formula will improve your writing.

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