You have to read to be able to write

Matt Gemmell on the classic question How do you get your ideas, or the relation between reading, writing, and the idea-flow:

The corresponding answer is usually something like “they just come to me”, but it’s a half-truth. We all know that, deep down. The reality is more prosaic: your outlook alters, such that everything is an idea. In the same way that a former spy can never fully switch off their vigilance, a writer’s imagination just becomes perpetually active. Reading is what makes it possible - you have to read in order to be able to write - but you have to write to actually activate this shift in perspective. It happens fast: within days. The problem isn’t ever finding ideas; it’s filtering them.

Reading is important, even if you are not a writer yourself. Finding time for reading long form –books, long articles, etc.– is crucial, even if it seems to be increasingly difficult.

creativity ideas writing

Join my free newsletter and receive updates directly to your inbox.