After changing my major in college quite drastically (engineering intentions, pre-pharmacy classes somehow morphed into cultural anthropology, and later, nonfiction writing), I thought I had it all figured out. I enjoyed writing, so I would study the tools of writing through my English writing nonfiction major. I wanted to write about people, so I studied cultural anthropology to get more tools for observing and understanding people.
What I didn't account for was the reading. My creative non-fiction classes required a lot of reading, and I also had to take a few critical reading classes. I saw them as simple requirements until my senior year of college, when I took a Contemporary Creative Non-Fiction Reading requirement. Looking back, I can easily say that this is the class that taught me the most about writing, and it's also the class where I did the least amount of writing.
But it's the class where I learned the tools that have made me more confident as a writer! Through reading, we can analyze the affects of various writing techniques, and see (through our own reading experience) how those techniques affect the reader. We can get new ideas about style, theme, topics, and so much more.
Through reading, we learn more vocabulary. We learn what grammar patterns transfer smoothly to the page, and which should be spoken. We learn how conversation can feel forced, fake or flawless when recorded. We learn. We learn! And to write well, dammit, we need to learn a lot.
If you haven't learned to appreciate the finer qualities of words, and all they can be made into, then you have no place writing. How can you learn the gentle, sometimes pulsing beauty of words? Through reading!
Reading, of course, isn't the only way to learn these things. Depending on the style of writing you hope to follow, you also need to learn to be honest, a communicator, a listener, and so much more. Stories cannot be found only on the page; stories happen in both the mind's eye and ear.
But on the basic level, one of the easiest (and most enjoyable) ways you can learn to be a writer is to learn to be a reader!
And so, I'm starting this collection. I'm hoping that I can introduce pieces of writing that are truly worth reading that can teach you something valuable. I'll point out parts of the writing I noticed and learned from, and I'd love it if you join me in this journey of learning!