Reading = Writing

If you want to write, I think the second most important thing you can do (beyond actually writing, that is) is read.  Read, read, read, readreadread.  Everything.

My daily reading generally consists of
1. a book/graphic novel of some sort
2. blogs (concerning food, writing, publishing, news, humor, and friends)
3. news sites, such as my local newspaper’s feed and CNN.com
4. student essays (not necessarily a positive in my reading development, but it happens almost daily)
5. whatever else I stumble upon

If you feel like this list is way too much, try to shorten it just a bit.  Read a book every night before bed.  Pick a few writing/publishing blogs to follow.  Pick a news site to read religiously (two with differing points-of-view are better, if you can).

Reading boosts my writing life in so many different ways.

1. Reading inspires me.  Other mediums can often do the same (movies, TV shows, art) but reading a book, especially in my own genre, gives me such a jolt.  I think, I want to write something equally as awesome.  Or even greater.  I actually began writing because of what I was reading as a kid.  I wanted a really good story to read, so I figured I’d write my own.  Even bad writing can be inspirational: “If that got published, then maybe I can.”

2. Reading makes you think about writing.  You see the words on the page, the way they’re put together, the patterns they form.  The language of them flows in your head.  I’ll finish a book and have the language floating around for days afterward.  For some reason, my own writing style comes out so much stronger after I’ve read a bit with a very distinguished writing language.

3. Reading lets you know what’s hot.  I especially like to pick up a book off the New York Time’s Bestseller list every once in a while.  If people are buying it, that’s what they’re into.  Keeping in touch with current trends can make you feel like your book has a future.  For instance, fantasy and paranormal is in hot demand right now.  So is romance.  Write a paranormal romance and you’ll at least know you’re writing in a genre that’s selling.

4. Reading educates you.  It tells you about writing and the world.  If you need to have a scene where one of your characters blows up a truck holding jet fuel, what are you going to do?  You probably can’t test it yourself and Hollywood is no help, so you need to research it.  If you want to write about Nashville, TN, you need to 1) actually go there, and 2) read about it.

So yeah, reading is one of those things I could do for hours.  Finding a fantastic book to pour into is the greatest high I could ever get.

In honor of this post, I’ll start sliding in little notes about what I’m currently reading and how it’s going so far.

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