Today’s topic is pretty straight forward and maybe seems unnecessary to discuss, and I got the idea by reading Jette Harris’s blog on noob mistakes writers make. (Thanks, Jette!) Honestly, I don’t know of any writers who are not readers. I do believe they are out there, though. What may be less obvious is that although reading makes us better writers, different types of reading helps us grow in many areas.
Reading to Learn
As a writer it is important to research different things for your writing. Part of this is because no one knows everything. Another part is because you don’t want to be completely ignorant when writing about a topic. It’s easy to lose audience members who know the truth about their topics of expertise if you do not put in the proper research.
Not only is researching topics for your stories a good idea, but reading about writing to learn your craft is also important. You’re already reading this blog, so good job! I also read to learn about writing. All of us always can make room to learn and grow in our craft, whether we write as a hobby or are best selling authors.
Never stop learning and your writing will get better and better.
Read to Understand
You should always be reading books in your preferred genre. Learning the voice and cadence from those who were published before you is an important tool in your growth process. As a young writer it’s easy to mimic the voices of your favorites because you admire their work. As you learn you’ll begin to understand and develop your own voice.
Another key to reading your preferred genre is figuring out where you can push new boundaries with your own stories. Instead of following the same map and path of others, you can forge ahead on your own to bring new ideas and topics with confidence.
Read to Push Your Limits
While reading within your preferred genre is important, reading outside your genre is just as important. Mystery, romance, horror, suspense, science fiction, fantasy; they all offer different perspectives on the human condition. You will broaden your ability to craft stories if you can think from different points of view.
It may not always be easy, but doing what makes us uncomfortable is what helps us becoming stronger.
Read to Practice
This is what will help you grow as an editor, which is very important to the writing process. In order to recognize and understand mistakes, it’s really important to read imperfect works other than your own. Learning to critique constructively will improve your ability to look objectively at your own work.
It can be easier to find mistakes in others and not in ourselves, but that is why practice is necessary. The imperfect works could be in helping a friend with a rough draft, proofreading your child’s homework, or even picking up imperfect books for free. Not only does this give you the chance to learn to pick out errors, but also how to give feedback in a helpful manner. (Think of it as good karma.)
Do you have any other reasons why reading improves your writing? Let me know in the comments. Thank you for reading!
Also by way of announcement, I’m working of Part 3 of the Soul Wave short story! There will also be a cover reveal soon for Book Two.