I’ve said, and many others have said, that all writers should be readers. I know of only one writer who doesn’t like to read. I mean of the writers I know personally. The fact that this one writer dislikes reading but loves writing is a bit shocking. Especially since she is such a fine writer. But she is in the minority.
I find that reading the work of other writers has helped me learn and grow as a writer. While I’m enjoying a suspense novel, I’m subconsciously taking in all I can about the way the author has written, the kind of phrasing he/she uses and word choice. I also note the things that I do not like. I do this when reading other things, too–short stories, essays, memoir, nonfiction articles, newspapers, and poetry.
I don’t want to copy the style of these other writers because I want my own voice to come through when I write. I do aim to study the different methods of other writers for some direction.
I have a feeling some of the writers reading this are going to say something like When do I have time to read? I hardly have time to write! I hear you loud and clear. I often read very early in the morning because I can’t seem to sleep past six anymore. Or I read while eating lunch or finishing the cup of tea I generally have with that meal. I read part of the evening because I find very little to draw me to watching TV. Oh, it’s on because my husband is addicted to TV, but I usually have a book in hand. I also spend part of my evening writing, so I’m not devoting an entire evening to one activity.
I have the benefit of being in a household that is just the two of us. I don’t have small children in need of my attention. I realize that reading time is a lot harder to find for busy parents of young children. But try to squeeze it in where you can. Set aside a family reading time when you all read. It might not be every day but even once a week would be helpful. Not only do you get to read but you are teaching your children the joy of reading.
What if you’re a student or working full time? It’s not easy to find reading time, but try to sneak in half an hour a day. It’s a wonderful way to unwind.
Yes, writers should also be readers. So squeeze some time out of your busy schedule. Write a little, read a little, write a little, read…..