Respect words“If you don’t have the time to read you don’t have the time (or tools) to write, it’s as simple as that” – Stephen King

“You can’t write well what you don’t read for pleasure. If it doesn’t entertain you, it’s not going to entertain anyone else” – Nora Roberts

I was reading a blog the other day and I was appalled at the errors. The writer didn’t seem to know the difference between ‘steal’ (theft) and ‘steel’ (the metal, or a stiffening of the nerves).

In another case, there was an aspiring writer who posted a daily request for how to write the most basic sentences. He didn’t know the word ‘peer’, as in ‘look over or around’, and that an adult would have to be seated for the child he was writing about to be able to look over the adult’s shoulder.

There have been several times where an aspiring writer is clearly trying to write fan-fiction based on a favorite TV show.

Another writer, using said favorite TV show, didn’t know the difference between a tunic, a toga, or a cloak. He didn’t know how people dressed in ancient Greece, Rome or Egypt, and didn’t know how to describe it.

If I could give one piece of advice to writers it would be the same as those of Mr. King or Ms. Roberts. Read. Read a lot. Read everything and anything. Someone once said of me that if I didn’t have a book to read I’d read cereal boxes or skywriting. I read voraciously. I read biographies, history, and most kinds of fiction. My husband likes to read philosophy, I listen to him discuss the books he loves, and I learn from it.

If you don’t read, you don’t have the basic skills to write. Google what you don’t understand, you’ll learn even more.

Do you want to be a good writer…or a great writer? Then read. Nudge the world a little. Or rock it!



Valerie Douglas is a prolific writer and genre-crosser, much to the delight of her fans. She reads and writes classic fantasy, romance, suspense, and as V.J. Devereaux, erotic romance. Who knows what will pop up down the road!

Happily married, she’s companion to two dogs, three cats and an African clawed frog named Hopper who delights in tormenting the cats from his tank.

Valerie Douglas is the co-founder and one of the administrators of the 12,000+ member Indie Author Group – supporting writers around the world.
Visit her blog at Valerie Douglas, Author at Large