I'm sure you've heard the saying, if you want to be a better writer, you must read, read, read! So, do you? Do you invest the time to read more than the daily newspaper or an occasional magazine? Carving time out of a busy day is not easy, but it is beneficial in honing your craft. Reading a variety of genres may be the most productive of all.
As a writer, I know it is difficult to read a story without critiquing it along the way. Editing, revising and chewing up words is what we do, what we thrive on and it is a teeny bit rewarding to rearrange and do a little cleaning in someone else's house, er book. We may even stumble upon one of our own thoughts that need revising. It's the risk we take each time we read a book. Perhaps that is the biggest challenge of all, comparing our story to the one we are reading. How does the cadence of our story stand up to the one already published? How is it different?
Another problem I became aware of is to not fall into the pit of reading only the same type of book I write. All too easily I could become a ghost writer. With little effort I could start writing just as the author I was reading. BEWARE the DANGER of that! Reading does not mean losing your own voice. Diversifying your reading does many things, mainly it opens your mind to other styles of writing while your creative side rests and/or absorbs new techniques. And it is always refreshing after a rest to dive back into your own WIP.
Finding time to read is difficult, but I value my reading time and force it into my day. In the evenings, I start out reading between commercials and soon discover my book is more interesting than what's on TV. I read when I eat breakfast, I try to read before bedtime. I read in the car, not while driving, but I know others who listen to audio while in route to work. I read when I'm stuck in my own plot! I need to step away for whatever reason and think about something else. Reading has always proven to be the balsam I needed before continuing with my writing.
In the last few weeks I've read several genres: 1) Heaven is for Real, by Todd Burpo; 2) Titan's Curse, by Rick Riordan; and 3) Code Talker, by Joseph Bruchac. I've enjoyed each for different reasons, the inspirational was - well, inspiring; the juvenille fiction was action packed, and Code Talker, a young Adult fiction, is chucked full of wonderful characters facing conflict during WWII. None were what I write: historical or sci-fi romance. And I feel I'm better for it. I've absorbed fresh ways of story-telling and I now have new ideas in my writing tool kit.
So how about you? What's your reading level? Are you reading enough? What are you reading this week? Share with us here at Acme Authors.
Til next time ~