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Reading as a Writer

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“Reading as a Writer” Being effective as a writer requires many things, and the most important is being an active and critical reader. Many people can read and the act of processing written words is in itself not what’s important. What is important is realizing and trying to understand what the writer is saying and how in fact they are doing so. Reading as a writer can inspire us, increase our knowledge, show us effective techniques in organizing information, and even allow us to criticize and revise our own work successfully. Nothing can draw upon our creativities as much as a piece of literature, from a simple haiku to a thousand-page novel actively reading and reflecting on what we have read is a window into our soul. Reading can incite deep feelings of pleasure and pain, love and loss, hope and regret. It can be the inspiration to change our lives, set new goals, and even inspire our own writings. Most importantly I think, this is where each of us finds the well in which we draw words from. I personally can look at my bookshelves and see that my favorite authors all share common traits; from the bitter sarcasm of Salinger to the societal satire of Hunter Thompson my favorite authors write a lot like way I think, or maybe, I just haven’t realized they have influenced me more than I imagined and I think a lot like the way that they write. Being proactive as a reader also allows us to comprehend and store the information the author is providing us. Nothing is worse than being asked about a text you have read only to have the screen inside our minds draw a complete blank. Actively reading and asking questions throughout takes us off of the “sidelines” and puts us “in the game” . Engaging with the writer’s dialogue not only reinforces certain points but forces us to re-read, perhaps finding an answer to our question somewhere else.
Donley 2
Becoming booksmart on the subject matter is not all that the writer teaches us though, and it is when we ask questions and look for answers that we are shown how the information is itself presented to us. From the central idea or thesis we might gleam an overview of the piece. But it is when we stop and ask “Why is this sentence relevant?” or perhaps we might say that a paragraph would be better suited somewhere else that we are learning how to effectively structure our own writing. Once all the pieces have come together and we have finished our own works, we have our chance to actively and critically read what we have written. I find it difficult to revise my own work, simply from the fact that I wrote it and know full well what my intentions were. When it comes time to revise ourselves we must not only read like a writer and question ourselves but also write like a reader, and try to answer the reader’s questions before they are even asked. And as long as we are doing this to ourselves and other writers, we are learning, and that is what truly matters most.

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