Why You Need to Read to Write

There’s no question that writing more often makes you a better writer.


Especially when that’s writing for an audience, any audience, no matter if they are in a theater, or even online. (Want some personal proof?  Go back and ready some of my first blogs from almost 10 years ago . . . and read some of my later blogs to see how I’ve gotten better just by 10 years of repetition!)


But one of the best things that writers can do besides write in order to improve . . . is not to write, but to read.


I’ve always been a reader, but lately, I’ve become a structured reader.  For example:


  • We started a Davenport Theatrical book club that reads and discusses a new book every quarter.
  • I read at least a few pages of a marketing book every day.
  • I read one “Fun” book a month.


Lately, I’ve devoured Save The Cat (which I told you about), Razzle Dazzle (the history of the feud between the Shuberts and Nederlanders on Broadway) and The Checklist Manifesto. 
And, of course, I read scripts . . . at least one a week . . . from the many submissions, I get from agents, artistic directors, and of course, from all of you.


There’s no question that reading makes me a better writer.  When I read, I learn what I like, what I don’t, what makes me want to keep reading even if I miss my subway stop (that just happened), or what makes me want to close a script and pick up another one instead (that also just happened).


That’s why I encourage all of you to be a better structured reader.  Give yourself a goal of what you want to read per week/month/year and make it happen.


Maybe you want to read one classic and one book on writing each month.  Or maybe you want to read the plays on our Broadway Producer Pick List over the course of six months.


I don’t really care how often you read . . . you should only set a schedule that you can actually accomplish (“ambitious yet achievable” are the best goals to set . . . not unrealistic ones).


But whatever your reading schedule is, make sure you set one.


Because reading will help you get better at your craft, and it’ll inspire you to get back to your computer and write yourself, so someone else can read you!


Go get ’em.

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Ken created one of the first Broadway podcasts, recording over 250 episodes over 7 years. It features interviews with A-listers in the theater about how they “made it”, including 2 Pulitzer Prize Winners, 7 Academy Award Winners and 76 Tony Award winners. Notable guests include Pasek & Paul, Kenny Leon, Lynn Ahrens and more.