Reading Before Writing

Many people aspire to be great writers. All people, regardless of what they are writing, want it to be good. It is often assumed that the only way to become a better writer is to write more, but this may not be the case. The article Read More, Write Less by Carole McGranahan presents the idea that you can only write as well as you can read, and the need for all people, including anthropologists, to read many different styles before writing. McGranahan explains that to write an ethnography, for example, an anthropologist should read poetry to understand the sound of the language, fiction to understand telling a story, memoirs to help express their own experiences, and children’s book to keep their souls full of wonder. Reading many different styles and genres will help a writer to understand the different aspects of telling a story and arranging the words in order to understand the effect that will be produced by their own writing. Reading only other ethnographies would limit the experience that the anthropologist has with writing, and would limit the style that they have been exposed to. McGranahan not only encourages writers to read more in various genres, but also encourages writers to read these other genres as writers, breaking down and understanding the meaning behind things in order to utilize different aspects in their own writing.

The idea of reading more before writing, to gain knowledge, is incredibly important. Today, many people think that they can simply begin things without having proper knowledge on the subject. While it is true that anyone can write anything at anytime, having experience seeing many different genres and understanding the different effects of techniques will enhance the effectiveness of any person’s writing.