Why writers should never neglect their inner reader

It seems safe to say that most writers enjoy reading. There’s just something about sitting down with a book by an author you love and letting yourself get caught up in their story. It’s pretty hard to beat.

But at the same time, when you’re caught up in your own writing, it can be surprisingly easy to let reading fall by the wayside. Sometimes this is helpful; it can be easier to focus on your own work when you’re not distracted by someone else’s.

However, no matter how a writer likes to actually go about the process of writing and however reading fits into that, their inner reader is still important.

Increase your frame of reference

One reason the inner reader matters to writers is that it helps to expand our frame of reference. After all, the more we read, the more we will have to draw on and inspire us when we come to sitting down to write our own work. It helps us learn about different styles and expand our vocabulary, as well as introducing us to things we may never otherwise have known about.

Learn to be critical

Your inner reader can also help you to become more critical – in a good way. For instance, the more you read of other people’s work, the more you will understand about what you like and what you think constitutes as a ‘good’ book, something that can be enormously helpful for your own work.

It can also help you while you’re in the process of writing. For example, when you’re going through your latest draft and working out what to edit, put yourself in the shoes of a reader. If you were a reader coming to your work for the first time, what would you think? Does everything make sense, is it paced properly, are there any changes you need to make?

Perhaps above all, remembering our inner reader helps us to remember why we write in the first place. Reading a good book is fun. It can be emotional and interesting and entirely unexpected. And if even a tiny bit of that rubs off on us when we’re in the middle of a difficult draft, it can surely only be a good thing.

What do you think?