Reading Like A Writer

reading like a writer

During a craft lecture at my first residency for Pacific University’s low-res MFA program, a fiction author took to the podium and announced: “You are responsible for what you don’t read.” He then shared a list of “the 100 most influential books.” Needless to say, it was an intimidating way to begin my studies. Twelve years have passed since then and I’ve found a happy medium between the impossible task of reading everything and the achievable task of reading like a writer.

Airstream Dispatches opened for Early Bird Registration yesterday and I’ve chosen a stellar line up of books to help us read like writers. In the coming weeks, I’ll announce those titles (and every author has agreed to an interview). Meantime, let’s consider why reading is so important alongside writing…or if you want to get right to the good stuff, email me right now and request your free PDF resource guide, “How to Read Like a Writer, So You Can Write Like a Writer.”

Understanding how a story comes together and impacts the reader is a scientific process. Settling onto the couch with a good mug of coffee in one hand and a book in the other is not too terribly different than a lab assistant readying the scalpel before dissecting a fetal pig. If we want to write well, we have to be able to identify the muscle and bone, so to speak.

During the six months of Airstream Dispatches we’ll be identifying specific elements of the writing craft, such as parallel flashback, analyzing the text of  the  featured book and then applying the concept to our own writing. It’s the best parts of a book club and writers group, all rolled up into one, because reading like a writer–even one sentence or paragraph at a time–ultimately paves the way for writing like a writer.

I keep hearing from individual writers who struggle with and want the same things: accountability, making time to write, feeling supported and “seen” by like-minded creatives. This worldwide book club for writers brings together a group of dedicated creatives who want the same thing I do: new knowledge, fun, productivity, and connection—no strings attached. Is this you? Will you show up for yourself and your imagination, just once a month?


  • Michaela McRae

    I’ve been craving for this opportunity for as long as I can remember, and though sometimes I feel that it’s now maybe too late for me, I still wish to embark on this journey with your permission and guidance.

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