As a writing coach, I often share this tip with aspiring authors:
READING is the flip side of writing. Every author, teacher, or writing coach worth their salt will suggest you read widely in your genre if you want to publish—Stephen King* not least among them! We’ll repeat this tip for writers (often) because we know you’ll learn as much about structure and style from considering how your favorite authors artfully construct their stories as you will from even the most instructive books about the writing craft.
Further, reading—in one’s genre or out of it—reliably restocks our pond of creativity, so that, when we go angling for new ideas and approaches, there are always plenty of fish to choose from.
Also, as poet W. H. Auden is reported to have said, “We read to learn more of what it means to be human.” And it does seem that often we are—consciously or unconsciously—seeking wisdom of some sort when we pick up a book.
This is a fabulous tip for writing and there are a gazillion or so lists of books to consider adding to your reading pile. Among them, THE NEW YORK TIMES Book Review, BookBub, and Goodreads.
A little closer to home (like, here, on this blog!) are a couple of reading lists you might want to peruse. The first, 20 (or so) Novels That Have Impacted Our Lives and Imaginations, was compiled during a very literary walk with my best pal Jill. The second, a post titled Support Black Writers, has a list of lists—Black-authored books that PBS, Penguin Random House, and HuffPost consider must-reads.
*And, as you may know, Stephen King, who reads voraciously, widely, and well, includes a list of 96 books he considers important in his ON WRITING: A MEMOIR OF THE CRAFT. You’ll find that list on Aerogramme Writers’ Studio.
Wherever you are in your reading life, keep turning those pages and don’t forget this writing tip. Reading not only fills the creative well—it fills our hearts, our souls, our minds, and our imaginations.
Need help with your book? I’m available for book coaching and manuscript review! And check out “Should I Hire a Writing Coach” in THE WRITER magazine.
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Thank you to Llewellyn Worldwide for kind permission to use the image of the Nine of Pentacles card from the EVERYDAY WITCH TAROT.