The importance of reading is drilled into every child from a very young age. We all once clutched onto our Biff and Chip books, desperate to find out what door the magic key actually opened. We climbed up reading levels, feeling smarter as we did, until we were could be of the legendary ‘free reading’ status. Our parents read to us, then eventually when we had really made it, we read to them. The quicker the words made sense to us and rolled off our tongue, the heavier the pats on the back. And then almost seamlessly, we could read in on heads. That is when the exciting world of literature really comes to life. There are so many options, so many books to read. It’s your own little secret world to explore.

As we grow older, the importance of reading is never forgotten. We are told that “reading unlocks the power of your mind”. We are encouraged to read and read and read. The mind is never full and there are endless amounts of books. But with all this reading, when is there time to write?

Of course, there is no good writer that hasn’t ever read a book. Reading and writing are like ying and yang or mash and gravy, they are nothing without each other. You must understand language to even begin trying to create it yourself. Some of a writer’s best, most inspired ideas come from reading. And of course a huge element in learning how to write well is reading well-written literature. However, is there too much emphasis on the importance of reading that we forget to pick up our pen and write for ourselves?

Perhaps with such a huge focus on absorbing all the literature and knowledge we can, we are forgetting that we have the power ourselves to create such literature. If some of your time spent reading, was spent writing instead, how many words would be on the page now? There may be a story just itching to be written, but you won’t know it’s there until that pen is on paper or those fingers are tapping away on your keyboard. Of course, it’s always good to read and immerse yourself in the beautiful worlds that other writers create. But don’t forget that you have the power to create one of these worlds yourself too.

Never leave writing to the authors. Everyone is an author. Because really, what is an author? We are all authors of our own stories. Everyone has a book in them. Granted, it might not be the most fine-tuned, grammatically correct masterpiece, but everyone has a story. You might not want to share this story, but writing it out, or at least trying to, can be a cathartic act that should not be ignored.

Never stop reading, but don’t leave out reading’s best friend either. Write, write and write.

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