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Last Week’s WW: What About the Gun?

I took a few years off from reading.  I’m not sure how many exactly, but I know it was a long time.  It’s probably because I got bored.  And I got bored for two reasons.  One, I’m kind of a slow reader.  Two, I read Dean Koontz exclusively from the time I was eleven.

But I’ll touch more on that in my upcoming weekly Mention Monday.

There were a couple times during my reading sabbatical when I would settle in to read a book, and quickly think, “ugh, I’d rather be writing.”  It’s not a bad thing to think, but it is limiting.

It’s important, as a writer, to also be a reader.  I find that it enriches my writing.  That reading a variety of writers has improved my own writing greatly.

One way it does this is by exposing you to different writing styles.  I know that my own writing style has advanced and evolved by reading more things.  It’s crazy to look at where I started, when I read only one author, to where I am now after reading a slew of new ones.

It also helps you see the rules you’ve learned about in practice.  After learning about editing, I can’t read a book the same way.  I’ll see the author do something and think, well, they just broke that rule.  I can still get into a really good book, but I feel like I’m learning as I’m reading.

Another thing it does is that it gets me more familiar with the genre that I’m writing in.  Some people advise that you shouldn’t read in your genre.  That you should find something else to read.  I’m not exactly sure the reasoning.  Perhaps to keep your own perspective fresh?  Perhaps to find tools readily available in other genres that you can apply to the one you’re working on, even if it’s not typically used there?  Whatever the reason, I think you should read in and out of your genre.  I find this difficult.  I’m a picky reader and I like what I like.  And I especially don’t like what I don’t.

But find what works for you.

As long as you’re reading.