Tool 43 ~ Read both for form and content.

“Examine the machinery beneath the text.”

Remember I took a class called Feature Writing this spring? Having never seen, heard of, read, or thought about writing a feature before, guess how I did it? I read features. Yup. That’s what I did.

“That’s how smart writers continue to learn, by reading work they admire again and again ‘to see how it works’ ” (211).

So . . .

  • Read to listen to the voice of the writers.
  • Read the newspaper in search of underdeveloped story ideas.
  • Read online to experience a variety of new storytelling forms.
  • Read entire books when they compel you; but also taste bits of books.
  • In choosing what to read, be directed less by the advice of others and more by your writing compass.
  • Sample — for free — a wide selection of current magazines and journals in bookstores that serve coffee.
  • Read on topics outside your discipline, such as architecture, astronomy, economics, and photography.
  • Read with a pen nearby. Write in the margins. Talk back to the author. Mark interesting passages. Ask questions of the text (all from 212).

Be a part of the triangle “menage a trois — among the author, text, and reader.” Have fun! 🙂


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