The other day I was chatting on the phone with a fellow writer and she said, “Who has time to read – I barely have time to write.” I can’t tell you how shocked I was. Actually I ‘had no words’ and let me tell you – that’s a rare thing.
I don’t know about you, but I’m always reading a book. I might not get it finished in record time, but I’m reading. If I’m watching a movie instead, I’m still thinking plot, characterization, and foreshadowing. Everything is about improving my skills as a writer.
Think about it this way. I’m positive dancers watch and study successful dancers. Novice singers study successful stars and learn by watching them what they are doing right. Well the same principle applies to writers. We learn how to write better, or what not to do, by reading other author’s books. If you’re not always trying to learn how to better your craft, you should stop right now and never write another book. Period!
Early on in my writing career I read the words, ‘Write what you know before creating that one-in a million Si-Fi best-seller.’ Why? You must learn the rules of fiction writing before you beak them. There’s a reason why beginner writers are told, ‘Start your book on chapter three, and I’ll bet that improves your story by 85%.’ As novice writers we somehow think we need to explain everything up front and later learn we can feed all this ‘great’ information into the story as it unfolds.
So, you might think – sheesh, Rita, you really got off the track here. LOL Well not really. How do we learn to tell stories that have value, distinction, suspense, sentiment, attitude, emotion, and at the same time be individualistic and fresh? By reading other author’s books. It’s true. While reading a book you might think to yourself, I would never have done that, or maybe you’ll think, that was tricky and I loved it.’
You should always have a book or eReader in your hand. I read in the doctor’s office, grocery lines, waiting for my turn at the bank, etc. Every lunch hour I read and guess what? I manage to read book after book. There’s no such thing as not having time to read . . . or write.