At the very least, writers need to read what they write. This almost goes without saying. Why would anyone try to write in a genre s/he doesn’t enjoy enough to read? But beyond that, there are guidelines for romance, Christian fiction, etc. So writers need to know what their (potential) readers expect.
But beyond what one reads, there is the issue of how one reads. Speaking for myself, since becoming a writer I find myself extremely sensitive to poor writing. I’ve mentioned this before. It’s everything from choosing the wrong pronoun to using the almost-right word—think lightening versus lightning.
I’ve discussed this with other writers. Judy Witt said, “I catch typos, misplaced words, slow starts, ‘padded’ descriptions, and more. But beyond that, I also file away for later use the many great techniques, clever approaches, and deft turns of phrases. Reading helps my writing.”
Another writing colleague reads to strengthen descriptions. Becky Kelly said, “Taking poetry, and analyzing it. Mary Oliver is a good example of action slowed down to the n-th degree so that the reader knows exactly what’s going on in a visual scene or sensory experience.” She also likes to use the four senses (other than sight) to hone in on the exact perception the writer is trying to convey.
Many writers are great fans of writing exercises. Examine a scene for how unique similes and metaphors might strengthen the writing.
And how about reading for information? This is one of my favorites. Tidbits picked up reading for pleasure can sometimes be incorporated into my own writing—for example, that in the 19th C, getting drunk could be called getting foxed.
Think about why you read—and how it helps your writing.