To Learn Writing, You Must Read

As a software developer by trade, I should probably be spending more of my time reading great source code.

How to do that?

I grew up doing a lot of writing – essays, fiction, poetry, all that stuff. And of course I went to school, where they make you read good stuff that people have written over the last thousand years.

But when you goto school for programming, they don’t make you read “classic” software source code. They teach you to write your own source code. And while that’s a useful technical skill, there’s a lot you can learn from actually reading other great writing – whether it be code, fiction, or even tweets. In software development, there are a lot of people writing little mini tutorials and walkthroughs where they discuss some technical feature of a language or a way to approach programming your way out of a particular technical paper bag. But those simplistic snippets of “great text” are nothing compared with the immersive experience of actually reading and understanding a complete work, cohesively.

But still, how to do that?