Micro Lesson: How to Read Like a Writer by Radhika Sharma


It is no secret that reading nourishes and empowers our writing.

Yet, to read like a writer may not always come naturally to us and requires us to train our faculties in precise ways. The following are some possibilities and suggestions to integrate reading in your life and make it an indispensable part of your creative routine.

Read a little (or a lot!) every day

There is nothing like consistency. Make time for your reading and use gaps in your daily routine for reading. Schedule time for reading and, if possible, keep a few books handy either on your bookshelf or on your reading device.

Vary your reading

Step out of your reading comfort zone and read a variety of material. Use a notebook to keep track of any new words or writing styles encountered in your reading.

Read closely

Pay special attention to the structure of your reading material. Writers use reading to inform their writing and always keep their thinking and analytical hat on! Ask yourself: How did the writer start their paragraphs? How is the first line of this book different from any other first lines I might have recently reviewed? How do writers develop their stories? How do they use language when they close the narrative? Keep a log of your observations.

Read aloud

Reading aloud reminds us of the beauty and lyricism of language. So whenever possible, especially if reading poetry, read aloud for a few minutes and then observe the connections between words in silence.

Look for the unspoken on the page

Remember that a lot is communicated via subtext and the unspoken on the page. Look for what is being implied and observe the dexterity of the writer in making the implicit apparent to the reader on the page.

Approach your reading with a sense of joy and play

Approach your material with a sense of wonder and joy to deepen your appreciation of it.

Pause from time to time and examine the choices that each writer is making

Employ the tools of mapping to make connections between a variety of reading materials and keep distractions to a minimum to fully inhabit the writer’s world.

Exchange reading lists with like-minded writers and readers

Make a note of all the books and articles you are reading and make a list of the books that made a special impression on you. Share this booklist with like-minded readers!

Be curious and when inspiration arrives, write diligently

It is inevitable that inspiration will arrive at your doorstep in time! Make time to write and continue to harness your reading to inspire and create!


Radhika Sharma is the author of Parikrama: a collection of short stories and Mangoes for Monkeys, a novel. She is currently at work on a new novel. Join her for a deep dive on reading in her class, Endings and Beginnings.