From Reader to Writer: Overcoming Writer’s Block Through Reading

From Reader to Writer: Overcoming Writer’s Block Through Reading

From Reader to Writer: Overcoming Writer’s Block Through Reading

Posted on 05/17/2024 Evan Swensen
From Reader to Writer: Overcoming Writer’s Block Through Reading

Have you ever felt the weight of writer’s block pressing down on you, clouding your thoughts and tangling your words? You’re not alone. Many writers experience this challenge, but the key to breaking free may already be within your grasp. Let’s explore three ways to read as a writer that can help overcome Writer’s block:

  1. The Good, The Bad, The Ugly

Embrace a broad spectrum of literature. Study the books you adore and those you do not enjoy. Reflect on your reaction. Was it the style, the characters, or the plot stirring your emotions? Understanding these nuances can sharpen your writing tools. For example, when reading Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen, you might find yourself captivated by the wit and depth of character development. Conversely, you might struggle through a less engaging book, but even that experience offers valuable insights. What made it less appealing? Was it the pacing, the predictability of the plot, or perhaps the lack of relatable characters? Good or bad, each book becomes a classroom, teaching what resonates with readers and what falls flat.

  1. Keep a Pen and a Sharp Mind

Grab a notebook if you’re reluctant to write in the margins of your books. Document phrases that resonate with you pinpoint story twists or identify the moments your interest waned. Making notes on the characters, especially the main character, can offer insights into solid character development. Take The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald. Jotting down notes on Gatsby’s enigmatic nature or Daisy’s conflicted emotions can illuminate how Fitzgerald builds complex, unforgettable characters. This method allows you to engage actively with the text, transforming passive reading into a dynamic, insightful exercise. Over time, these notes become a treasure trove of writing techniques and character archetypes.

  1. Color Codes

Arm yourself with colored highlighters and dissect a novel. Assign each color a theme—plot, character, dialogue. This method will reveal the intricate ways authors construct their narratives, providing you with a visual blueprint for writing. Imagine breaking down To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee with this approach. Highlighting Scout’s narrative in one color, Atticus’s moral lessons in another, and the unfolding plot in yet another, you begin to see how these elements weave together to create a powerful story. This visual dissection can uncover patterns and structures that aren’t immediately apparent, giving you a clearer understanding of narrative craftsmanship.


Each book you read holds a lesson, a secret that can aid in honing your craft. As you explore these methods, you’ll find inspiration and develop a toolkit to navigate and dismantle writer’s block. The sensory richness of your environment while reading—whether it’s the quiet hum of a coffee shop or the serene ambiance of a library—can also influence your engagement with the text. Authentic interactions with other readers, sharing insights, and discussing different interpretations further enrich your understanding.

Moreover, the underlying emotional currents that flow through your reading experience, the subtle humor in a character’s dialogue, or the irony in a plot twist add layers to your comprehension and, ultimately, your writing. Balancing description with action and reflection with momentum, much like a well-paced narrative, invites deeper engagement with the events and their implications.

In conclusion, reading as a writer is not just about enjoying a good story. It’s about dissecting the elements that make it compelling, understanding the techniques that elicit emotions, and using those insights to enhance your writing. By embracing a diverse range of literature, keeping detailed notes, and employing color-coded analysis, you arm yourself with the tools needed to break through Writer’s block and elevate your craft. As you delve into these practices, remember that each book is a stepping stone, guiding you toward becoming a more skilled and insightful writer.

Evan Swensen
8370 Eleusis Drive
Anchorage, Alaska 99502
(907) 349-2424

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