Author Samuel Delany has an interesting theory about how your reading affects your writing:
It is almost impossible to write a novel any better than the best novel you’ve read in the three to six months before you began writing your own. Thus you must read excellent novels regularly. (Delany, About Writing, p. 127)
I would surmise that this principle applies equally well to other art forms if you swapped out the nouns and verbs as needed. Thus, “It is almost impossible to write an essay” or “paint a painting” or “write a song” that is better than the best one you’ve seen or read or heard in the past three to six months. In short, if you want to create good art, you must consume excellent art regularly.
Delany’s theory is just a theory, with only anecdotal evidence to back it up; but it makes sense on the…
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