Ever since I started writing, I have read that a writer reads, or should read. At first, I excused my lack of reading on several things.
1. There is no time for reading; I am writing. The excuse held water like a bucket without a bottom (not just a bucket with holes). After a while, I understood why there is an important need for a writer to read: to learn to write better. If we do not have time to read at least about writing, we have no time to write. Many successful authors recommend that any wannabe writer should read the genre that they are pursuing in their writing. Read to find out what is selling and while reading, learn by reading their styles: what made them successful?
2. Their style is their style; mine is mine. I feared accusations of stealing or copycatting because surely other’s influence would ruin my unique style. Now, I laugh at that because my style eight years ago could have used some strong influence. Reading a successful novelist does not mean their style is going to over-power you and wrestle your unique style away from you. Reading similar books to yours is not going to brainwash you or force you under their control. Read to learn from the masters. Many artists throughout history have studied the greats. Studying the greats is not the same as becoming so absorbed in the artist that you forget your own art. Learn, and then experiment.
If you ever get a severe case of writer’s block, try reading.
Reading inspires us.
Socrates said, “Employ your time in improving yourself by other men's writings, so that you shall gain easily what others have labored hard for.”
Reading is also a great way to get away from editing and rewrites for a while – take a picnic lunch and head for the beach, lake, or park.
For some links to some great people who have books on writing, see the bulletin board on the left side bar to my blog. If you have any links to anyone you would recommend, please let me know.