Most good writers have this in common: they pay attention to what they read – how the writer put words and sentences and paragraphs together, how a word looks on paper, what a paragraph looks like. And they emulate the work of other writers – perhaps not altogether consciously, yet still patterning their writing after other writing.
Good writers usually observe writing conventions without thinking about rules. Inexperienced writers, on the other hand, all too often do not have “models” in their heads of what good writing looks like, not because they don’t read but because they may not pay attention to writers’ ways of achieving effects.
Excerpt from Bridges (1985) by Donna Gorrell, University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee