Want to Be a Writer? Then You Have to Be a Reader

Stephen King:

If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all others: read a lot and write a lot. There’s no way around these two things that I’m aware of, no shortcut. . . .

It’s hard for me to believe that people who read very little (or not at all in some cases) should presume to write and expect people to like what they have written, but I know it’s true. If I had a nickel for every person who ever told me he/she wanted to become a writer but didn’t have time to read, I could buy myself a pretty good steak dinner. Can I be blunt on this subject? If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have the time (or the tools) to write. Simple as that.

(HT: Justin Taylor)

A free chapter of Stephen King’s On Writing is available after the jump:

Posted by Aaron Armstrong

Aaron is the author of several books including the Big Truths Bible Storybook, Epic Devotions, Awaiting a Savior: The Gospel, the New Creation, and the End of Poverty, and Contend: Defending the Faith in a Fallen World. His next book, published by Lexham Press, will release in Spring 2023.

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5 Replies to “Want to Be a Writer? Then You Have to Be a Reader”

  1. […] is probably the best advice I’ve seen lately for writers (aside from Stephen King’s). It’s elegant in its simplicity—which of course means its extremely difficult to put into […]

  2. […] Stephen King: Want to Be a Writer? Then You Have to Be a Reader […]

  3. coming to a guy who reads a book per day…wow…will be checking this out later…thank you Aaron!

  4. I read this book and really enjoyed it. I’ve read a lot of writing books by more…academic and canonical writers. Many scoff at a writing book written by a “pop” writer. So it was interesting to read his advice and hear how it differs from much of the establishment.

    1. I don’t have a great love of King’s writing (it just doesn’t do much for me), but I found the advice to be terrific. Very much in line with D.A. Carson’s advice for preachers—listen to a lot of other preachers. 

      I’m surprised that there even ARE writers out there who read very little or at all. It doesn’t make sense to me at all.

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