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Avid Reading Makes Proficient Writing

Avid Reading Makes Proficient Writing

Written by: Muhammed Abdullahi Tosin*

That readers are leaders is a time-honoured saying. As an artisan, crafting literary pieces with words, I dare say that readers aren’t simply leaders, they’re prolific writers, and perhaps ‘righters’ too.

Readers are leaders, and writers too.

The totality of what a writer scribbles are a product of his experience: what he’s seen, heard, felt or read. The most robust, compelling and intellectual facts, arguments or thoughts relevant to an issue or a topic however come from what the writer has read. A sage once observed, and I believe aptly, that he who has been stung by the sting to write and not the sting to read must have been stung by a wrong sting.

No one can give what he does not have. In its undiluted Latin diction, this means that ‘nemo dat quod non habet’. That captures it all. No delusion can be higher than wishing to give what one has not got. He wants to donate a kidney to another, but his two bean-like waste processors are deceased. And hear this – the wishful donor survives only on a life-supporting machine!

Did I hear you say he’s deranged? Of course he is, and the case of a wishful writer who would not read wide is no different.

I’ve been asked a couple of times: “What exactly should a writer read?” Well, I say absolutely everything can be worth reading! Yes, everything. You may read anything readable. It need not necessarily relate to your field of study or your areas of interests. Does the piece before you contain knowledge? Is there the minutest possibility that it might one day benefit you? Then it deserves to be read.

Get it right – I’m not saying you must read everything that there is (of course it’s impossible). My advice is plain: no write-up is a write-off, nothing is worthless. But because you cannot read everything stricto sensu, what to read becomes a question of priority.

For an essay writer who wants to be adept and up to date, top on his regular reading list should be news reports, opinion pieces and newspaper columns (these can really be refreshing, if you choose your choice columnists well), interviews and features. It may also be a lofty idea to follow the trends on issues in your areas of interests. Politics, economy, security, religion, culture, environment, history, law, science, international relations, arts, just name it.

Luckily, extensive reading harms no one; it only makes you a step ahead of your peers. I recall entering the GIC National Essay Contest under very stringent circumstances: I got the information in less than 48 hours, I had two crucial written tests between the two-day period and all entries must be well-researched, taking the format of an academic paper with footnotes and bibliography. Oh! How discouraging it was!

Imagine if I had no vast residual knowledge on the topic. What if I had not been following developments relevant to the theme of the contest but had to just browse through Google, Wikipedia and the array of numerous sites and books with their daunting, voluminous contents?

Of course I would have forgone entering the contest. Thank goodness I was well acquainted with the subject matter through concerted reading (for fun), I was familiar with many of the very germane contentions and counter-arguments surrounding the topic. I managed to put my entry together within 48-already-over-scheduled hours. There has been a worse constraint entering some other essay contests. And it may interest you to know that “yours sincerely” won the First Prize in the GIC competition!

The good thing is that whenever you want to write on a topic, you’ll instantly recall all the related articles, opinions and news you’ve read on it and that makes your work simpler. All the important statistics, endearing arguments, innovative thoughts and creative assemblage of words into beautiful sentences can then be utilized to get you substantially through the writing process. I said substantially, because of course, you still need to make some specific research solely for the sake of the writing task at hand.

So, if you seriously cherish the craft of writing, and writing right at that, you must give a serious thought to reading. And permit me to be humorous: if you’ve got two eyes to read, but you write with only a hand, then you should read more than you write.

Keep learning and winning. To write is right and to win is no sin. Use your writings to do the right things.

Have you got a question or observation? Please use the comment section below.

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About Muhammed Abdullahi Tosin

Writer. Difference Maker. Entrepreneur. Author, Your Right To Write & Vertical Writing. Winner, 11 Writing Prizes.

Comments

  1. Beautifully writen and inpiring…please keep writing!

  2. Nice work nd highly inspiring.

  3. Khabeerah says:

    ……..An inspiring piece, more power to your elbow!

  4. Oyewo temitayo says:

    …an entrancing piece. Keep it up.

  5. @muhammad abdullahi tosin, i guess you must be tired of hearing your readers commending you , how brilliant you are and what your web page did to them.well i on the contrary will not toe their line.
    iam annoyed with you for invading my privacy, for stealthily gaining access into my world .why have you held me spell bound to read you and reply aroud 2;30 am! now iam an addict and thus like the catholic marriage(apology to obasanjo on Atiku) there will be no divorce and yes notify me on new follow up …ATTAH boy keep it up

  6. Chukwuemeka says:

    I’m captivated by ur pieces tonight.Though about 2 years later its impact is still fresh painting d possibility of bcoming heroic writer on d canvass of mind. Great work of art(for writing is an art).

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