A writer’s best apprenticeship

“Read a lot. Read broadly. Read the kinds of books that you want to sit next to in the bookstore (or in Amazon recommendations or whatever). Read good books and bad ones.

I really believe that reading is our best apprenticeship–through reading, we can figure out how people have used text over the centuries to create stories and ideas in other people’s heads.

And then write a lot as well, and be kind to yourself as you write. That’s the best advice I’ve got.” John Green


4 thoughts on “A writer’s best apprenticeship

  1. Reading definitely helps with writing. I love “read the kinds of books you want to sit next to” haha. Maybe I’ll start paying attention to what books I’m sitting next to in Barnes and Nobles.

    • Yes! Knowing what kinds of books you gravitate towards can only help your writing, I think. I especially like that he says to “read good books and bad ones.” So often it seems like we’re told to only read certain kinds of books, and that if we read the wrong ones it will only hurt our writing. That may be partially true (I know that I tend to pick up style patterns from the authors I’m reading) but I also think that reading books that aren’t “great” will help us figure out what we like and what we don’t.

      • I couldn’t agree more with reading books that aren’t “great” to figure out what we like and what we don’t. Too much emphasis is placed on reading “great” books in my opinion. I think as writing tutors we can vouch for the fact that reading a variety of writing at different levels has its merits.

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