The question I am going to try and answer in this article is: “What would I pick up, given a choice between reading and writing?” We all know that as soon as children are enrolled in kindergarten, the first thing they are taught is the alphabet. I remember picking up my younger sister from school after her first day in kindergarten some forty-five years back. At that time, I was a young lad of eleven and my sister was just four. My first question to her as soon as we stepped out of the school was: “What have you learned today?” She replied in that quaint accent little children speak in: “A for Upple”. After a fleeting moment of wondering what an “Upple” was, I realized she meant an “Apple”.
Coming to the question of making a serious choice between reading and writing, I will straight away say I would pick up reading. It is not that I do not enjoy writing. In fact, I have immensely loved penning every article, poem, short story, and all the other writeups I have put down on my blog over the last five years. I have also thoroughly enjoyed penning the few books I have written. I have generally found that writing is a very creative process and stimulates the grey cells of the brain which I enjoy thoroughly. But the main reason I still choose reading over writing is that, for the most part of my fifty-six years on this planet, I have been a voracious reader. I started writing only in 2017 and that too accidentally. So, I have a greater affinity for reading.
To substantiate my choice of reading, logically, and based on reason, I would like to ask my readers a question. Is it possible to choose writing over reading at a very fundamental level? The obvious answer is no. It is only after learning to read can we even begin to think of writing. It is only after going through the “A for Upple” phase as my sister did that we can think of writing anything. The point I am trying to drive home is that there is no way we can write anything before we learn to read.
We must learn to read the alphabet before we can form the words and create sentences. Trying to answer the question of which of the two is superior is a very difficult task. It is equivalent to answering the question: “Did the egg come first or the Hen?” Between reading and writing, I for one believe reading comes first and writing is a big subset of reading. Hence, I feel reading is a wee bit more important than writing.
I have several other logical reasons for choosing reading over writing. Of course, ever since I started writing, I have realized that for penning down anything at all, be it fiction, non-fiction, or any other form of writing, it definitely helps if a person is a habitual reader. Reading improves our ability to write. I have written five books in all. For each one of them, I had to do a good amount of research on the internet, and this meant I had to indulge in copious amounts of reading.
My upcoming full-length novel which belongs to the thriller fiction genre is set in the seventeenth century. As most of us are aware, during those times the chief mode of transport used to be horseback riding. So, the first thing I had to find out when I began writing the novel was, on an average how quickly can a horse run? And there were several other big and small things I had to find out through research. From this single point, you can fathom how important reading is. The entire plot of the novel would have gone for a big toss if I had not made sure of these facts. For penning books of any kind, we need a good vocabulary and fluency in the language we write the book in. This can be acquired only if we read a lot.
Apart from enabling a person to write, a good vocabulary has several other advantages. It helps us to become good conversationalists. It helps us to present our ideas clearly to others. Good communication skills are half the battle towards becoming good managers. Reading helps us in every walk of life and enriches our potential to live a fulfilling life and become successful human beings.
Finally, I would like to ask my readers to try and answer another question. How many of the people around you write a lot but read rarely? Most of us would find that almost all the good writers we know read a lot. This is because it is impossible to write anything at all without putting in at least a modicum amount of research and for that one must read. Let us now reverse the question and ask ourselves, how many of us read a lot but never write? We would be forced to admit that among all the literate people we know, writers are fewer than the readers. Hence writers are a subset of readers.
All these advantages place “reading” a shade above “writing” in the hierarchy of importance. Based on all the arguments, though I am smitten by the love of writing, I would still pick up reading over writing. God forbid that I ever have to make this choice. With that, I rest my case.
This post is a part of Blogchatter Blog Hop