Reading for Better Writing

It’s important to know what kind of writer you are so you can hone and focus your skills more efficiently. Every writer I know already does this. Romance writers read extensively in the genre, thriller writers read thrillers, etc. Reading other authors in your chosen genre helps you keep up with current trends and even avoid pitfalls.

Reading makes good writers better, but I don’t think limiting your reading to any one genre is a good idea. One good thing about the Internet is that writers meet and become familiar, or even friends with, authors who swim in different depths of the genre pool. Reading a friend’s work becomes an act of friendship, support and kindness, and when that work is in a different genre, your own reading experience is enriched.

As vital as reading is writing. Writing every day, writing when it hurts and especially when it doesn’t, is how authors earn the title. So what if that thousand words you produced before lunchtime sucks royal eggs? The thousand you produce before suppertime might be golden eggs. You just keep at it, day after day, until you’re satisfied with the result.

Or at least, as satisfied as you can be when you’re ready to publish. Inevitably, the minute you publish, you’ll think of something you forgot to say, a mistake you forgot to correct. Mistakes need to be corrected, but the rest of it – probably not. I don’t think any professional writer would stop editing, ever, if they could get away with it. Move on.

For those in the field of science fiction and technothrillers, aren’t these the most exciting times? Drones! Smart watches! Cars that drive themselves! Oceans on other planets! Hardly a day goes by that the latest tech news doesn’t give me an idea for a plotline. It’s like living in an Ian Fleming novel. Soak it all up. Read the latest news, read new books.

Then turn off the TV, get off Facebook, re-shelve those books you’re reading. Sit your butt down and write.

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