A culture of readers

[Cate Bush] was skeptical about the value of [the workshop] method, and said that teaching writing can’t really be done except by teaching reading. There’s a need to create a culture of readers.

Keith Oatley

omg, yes. IMO, the top three things you can do to “learn” to write:

1. Read a lot, and widely. Don’t just read what you know you like; take risks. It’s not a lifetime commitment; it’s a book (or a story). Read in your genre and outside of it. Read stuff you don’t like. Read stuff you don’t think you’ll like (but maybe you will). Read stuff you know nothing about before you start reading. Read stuff that’s “hard” and stuff that’s “easy,” etc. Read, read, read.

2. Edit other writers’ work. Join a writing group, volunteer as a reader for a journal. I know it takes time. But you know what? If you give up some of your time for other writers, it will come back to you. Learning to identify the flaws in other people’s writing makes it so much easier to see them in your own. So when you come back to your own work, instead of floundering around, knowing something isn’t right but unsure what exactly isn’t working, you can edit with purpose.

3. Write.