The Key to Good Writing is Reading

What should one do to improve his writing skills? originally appeared on Quora - the knowledge sharing network where compelling questions are answered by people with unique insights.

Answer by Neil Pasricha, NY Times Bestselling Author of The Happiness Equation & The Book of Awesome, on Quora.

A good friend of mine told me a story once that really stuck with me.

He said Stephen King had advised that an aspiring writer should read something like five hours a day. My friend said "You know, that's baloney! Who can do that?" but then, years later, he found himself in Maine on vacation. He was waiting in line outside a movie theater with his girlfriend and who should be waiting in front of him? Stephen King! He said his nose was in a book the whole time in line. He said they got into the theater and the guy was still reading till the lights dimmed. And he said when the lights came up he noticed he pulled the book open right away. He was reading as he was walking out of the theater.

Now, I'm not sure what percent of the story is true. Broken telephone and all. But I think the message is really good. Basically, you should read more. A LOT more. And you CAN. There are minutes hidden in all the corners of the day and they add up to a lot of minutes.

In a way, it's like the 10,000 steps rule. Walk around the grocery store, park at the back of the lot, chase your kids around the house? 10,000 steps. Maybe it's the same way with reading.

I know I've always had a problem in my life with finding books I loved and that kept my interest. So now I probably quit 3-4 books for every one I read to the end. I think I just accepted quitting them as okay. And that way I remove them as roadblocks to read something else, something better, something waiting...

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