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Why Readers Are Better Writers

Published by Tori Atkinson on
Why Readers Are Better Writers

It was once said that “reading is essential for those who seek to rise above the ordinary” [1] and for the writer who’s serious about their craft, this couldn’t be more apt. Avid readers - particularly readers of prose and poetry - are able to become better writers as a result of immersing themselves in the styles and skills of other writers.

Join us as we discuss just why it is that readers make better writers.

They learn how to empathise

Readers spend hours upon hours lost in the worlds of other people - and this means they learn to listen, love and relate to a variety of characters. This, in turn, breeds empathy - an understanding of someone else’s thoughts, feelings and decisions in a way that allows them to be shared.

As a writer, this is one of the greatest traits to master. When a writer crafts poetry or prose, they become their characters. They embody the speaker and their job is to ensure this is done in a way that’s believable to the reader. So, if you want to be a great writer, “read, read, read. Read everything” [2] and use it to your advantage.

Writing for an ecommerce website requires a great deal of empathy and understanding of the customer base in question. This will change depending on the product or service, so a writer needs to be able to bend that empathy at will and adapt it to suit a variety of demographics. Once a writer learns to craft content with the end user in mind, conversions become that much more likely. They unwittingly expand their vocabulary

There’s so much to learn from reading, not least the unearthing of new words. There’s nothing quite like discovering a new word or phrase and learning how to use it - especially when you realise you’ve finally found one tiny word to encompass a whole variety of thoughts and feelings.

Expanding your vocabulary with new words means that, when you come to put pen to paper, you have a world of ways to express yourself - but you should “handle them carefully, for words have more power than atom bombs.” [3] In website copy, this can be dangerous, but also powerful if wielded correctly. Words are the things that can drive users through the sales funnel and turn a browser into a buyer - but they can also contribute to a high bounce rate if a user doesn’t get what they want, so use them wisely.

As well as learning how to use a plethora of new adjectives in a sentence, there’s the added benefit of understanding the basics of spelling and grammar. A great writer knows the importance of paying attention to the basics - and the more they encounter these best practices in their reading, the more this becomes second nature. As the saying goes, “reading is a discount ticket to everywhere” [4], so take our money - we’re on board! They look at things from new perspectives 

Writing about a niche you know well can cause tunnel vision. Yes, it’s great to intimately understand your subject, but not if this will be a detriment to your website copy. For the devoted reader, devouring any and all perspectives is part of the beauty of getting lost in another person’s life - and this can be translated into their writing.

The insatiable reader’s thirst is never quite quenched, which often means they’re open-minded when it comes to looking at things from different angles. Much like a sponge, the avid reader is keen to take in the contents of everything they read - and this is how they become better writers. By using everything they’ve previously absorbed, this can be harnessed to help them achieve their goal - reaching users.

“Nowadays people know the price of everything and the value of nothing” [5] - but this shouldn’t be the case with online content. By all means, write for the user and their needs - but like the great poets, novelists and playwrights before you, don’t lose sight of what you’re actually trying to achieve. You wouldn’t find The Bard filling half a page with mindless nonsense...maybe that’s not the best example.

They understand the importance of structure 

Finally, reading teaches the importance of structure. The more that’s read, the more that’s learned about story progression and how a writer moves the narrative on. While you might not be constructing a literary masterpiece, leading your readers logically through your content is every bit as important as if you were.

Much like the great writers tie everything together in the final chapter of a book, someone writing web copy needs to be able to bring all of the preceding information to a point - otherwise known as a call-to-action. This summarises everything that has been said and prompts the user to take the next step. Like a story that’s not quite wrapped up, without this closer, all other work is redundant.

Once upon a time, there was a team of readers who turned their love of literature into a vocation. Why not book a chat with one of our resident bibliophiles and find out how our library of knowledge can add meaning to your online storytelling? Whatever your passion, we’re ready to pursue it.

The end 

[1]  Jim Rohn, American entrepreneur, author and motivational speaker

[2] William Faulkner, novelist and short story writer

[3] Pearl Strachan Hurd, British politician 

[4] Mary Chmich, American journalist and Chicago Tribune columnist 

[5] Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray

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