This Tuesday was National Book Lovers’ Day. Every good writer is an avid reader, so today’s post is all about reading and books!
Reading Improves Your Writing
How exactly does reading affect your writing? Everything (the people you interact with, the extracurriculars you participate in, etc.) you do influences your writing. After all, while writing involves imagination and creativity, experiences do have the ability to limit your writing.
Reading books gives you a better understanding of the industry of your genre, including the common tropes and clichés to avoid and the typical length of stories like yours. Beyond that, it helps you—on both the conscious and subconscious level—come up with new plot ideas and get in touch with writing techniques.
To learn more, visit my post about reading like a writer.
Reading is Fun
Reading might help you with your writing, but that doesn’t make it any less fun. If you’re reading the right books, you are bound to enjoy reading (and if you don’t love reading, you’re probably not reading the right stories).
Reading is like watching a movie that you are a character in. Because you have the ability to make conclusions based on the words you see on the page, your imagination has a major influence on the story you believe you are reading. You also get to manage the pace at which you consume a story (although I still have a habit of finishing books in a few hours).
Like writer’s block, reading slumps seem to come out of nowhere. A reading slump is the inability to read anything. Maybe you read and reread the same pages without understanding or enjoying anything, or maybe you can’t even bring yourself to pick up a book even though you usually love reading. It happens, and it’s completely normal.
Sometimes, the solution is taking a break. Consuming different types of media, just focusing on your writing, or putting your effort into other priorities can help you rekindle a love for reading and get back in the flow.
If that doesn’t work or you’re hesitant to take a break, consider joining a book club at your school or in your community. Just like with writing, having people to keep you accountable and share your experiences with can make a big difference.
Or, reread your favorite things. It requires less concentration to read something you already know inside and out, and you already know you’re going to enjoy it.
Another way to get out of a reading slump is to read something new (see below).
Diversifying Your Reading List
I love reading young adult fantasy novels (which has a big impact on what I write) and I could read that same genre all day, everyday. Still, I realize that constantly reading one genre can narrow my perspective and limit my growth as a reader and a writer, so I try to read different genres and formats (novels, short stories, plays, poetry, audio books, etc.).
Reading new things can expose you to themes, lessons, writing styles, and more that you might not see in your normal genre. You might find something you want to bring to your own writing (even if you write in a different genre). This can also keep yourself from burning yourself out because reading similar things can get boring.
And what’s the worst case scenario? You don’t like the book, and you get a beautiful reminder of why you like the genre you like.
What is your favorite book? Let me know in the comments!