Hey there my lovelies! It’s Sunday, but as it’s a holiday weekend, this week's post is likely to be short and sweet. Today I’m giving you My Two Cents on Why Writers Should be Voracious Readers.
I feel like this sentiment should be self explanatory, but trust me, it can be a debate. And I don’t necessarily mean externally, I actually mean it can often be an internal struggle or debate. While we all know we should be reading, I think it’s easy to get lost in the day-to-day of life and forget to carve out time for it. So this post is meant to be a head slapping moment to remind you why you should make time.
It can be easy to forget that an author’s love of writing probably started like most everyone’s—as a reader. I can’t recall the exact moment I fell in love with the written word. But if I had to guess, I’d say it was around the time of Sweet Valley High and The Babysitters Club. (Does that date me? Probably.)
The first book I remember LOVING and reading and rereading multiple times was The Dollhouse Murders, by Betty Ren Wright. I vividly remember staying up until three in the morning the first time I read it, petrified by every bump in my house, hiding under my covers and refusing to put it down. Even as the memory of the exact plot and characters faded, the feeling the book gave me never did. I probably couldn’t tell anyone exactly what the book was about years later, but the point is I remembered it into adulthood. And it was a book that I even recommended to my daughters when they were old enough (who also loved it btw).
Anyway, the point is, as a writer, that’s the type of book I hope to write. I want people to love my characters and my story enough to want to stay up and finish it. I want them to HAVE to know how it ends and not be able to put the bookmark in. I want them to fall in love with my characters and be sad when they get to “the end,” because it feels like they’re losing their friends. But the only way to achieve that is to discover books that make me feel that way.
So I read.
I read books by authors I love who inspire me. I read books by people who inspire others who I hope to be like. And I read unpublished manuscripts by other writers.
Of course, reading books by authors who inspire me and others is pretty self-explanatory. If I feel inspired it will help me write inspirationally. Also, it’s beneficial to read books by others who have been successful at what you hope to achieve. So it follows that you have a lot to learn from a published author. If I can figure out the magic feeling that the books I read create, then hopefully I can replicate it.
But a less obvious suggestion is to read manuscripts. Being a beta reader can be an incredibly valuable way to not only help other writers, but help your writing as well. I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve seen a weakness in someone else’s writing that was also reflected in my writing. And as a reader (detached from the personal story) I was able to understand why that weakness didn't work. For example, if I read a manuscript with a main character I didn’t really like, and I could pinpoint why I didn’t like them, I would in turn be able to make sure my characters didn’t have those types of flaws. Similarly, I’ve learned a lot about my own style and how to fine tune it by reading manuscripts with both similar and different vibes. When you write down the flaws for others, it emblazons them in your brain, so that you can find them in your work.
The point is, if you’re struggling with where to go with your writing, or you feel like your manuscript can’t get better, then maybe it’s time to take a break and get inspired by others. Read a book. Read ten books. Read thirty books and take note of what you like (or dislike) about each one. Find out how you can improve your story by getting ideas from others. I’m obviously not suggesting you copy people, but get inspired by aspects of the books, their writing or their voice and let them influence your writing. As you read, stop when you find something you like and take note on places you can apply that to your writing. Also take note of things you dislike and analyze whether these things are in your writing.
That’s it folks! That’s my quick, self-explanatory reason why Writers should be Voracious Readers. Never forget that your first inspiration likely came from something you read, so revisit that love and remind yourself why writers put themselves through the difficult process of becoming published authors.
Have a happy week friends!
-Rose Rayne Rivers
Comment below and tell me what’s the first book you remember loving. Also, let me know if you have any topics you want me to cover in the upcoming weeks!
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