Every year at this time adults and children across the UK are inspired to play tennis by watching Wimbledon. People who have never played before pick up a racket, tennis club members with busy lives realise they haven’t played much recently, and they all head down to their local courts to knock a ball around.
I’ve watched Murray and Federer and Nadal and wished I could play like them. The power, the speed, the grace, and tenacity in the face of defeat: I’m motivated to get outside and emulate them.
Good writers are the same. Professional. Practised. Dedicated. And reading a good book by an accomplished author is, for me, like watching the Mens’ Final on Wimbledon’s Centre Court.
I’m filled with admiration for the beautiful language or clever plot or memorable characters. It makes me analyse what it is about the writer’s style that works so well. Most importantly, it pushes me to strive to write better myself, working on my weaknesses, building on my strengths, putting in the hours.
So next time your writing feels stuck in a rut or jaded, try pulling a good book off your shelf – whatever the literary equivalent of Novak Djokovic is for you – and read.
Watch how the masters do it, and allow yourself to be inspired.
Which authors or books do you return to for inspiration?
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