So what do you read while you’re in the middle of a writing project? From my personal experience, and some research and reading of other blogs/articles on the topic, there seem to be several different schools of thought on this topic.
Read in your Genre
If you want to know what’s popular in the genre that you’re writing, then read some recent books. Learn about popular tropes, what current readers expect or enjoy out of that genre, average acceptable story length, and so on. After all, how can you expect to write a cozy mystery or a sword-and-sorcery tale if you’ve never read one (or a few) before?
Read outside your Genre
While it’s important to read what you’re writing, sometimes your brain needs a break. Also, you don’t want to get so bogged down in other people’s stories that you lose sight of what you’re trying to convey with your own. This can sometimes happen if you read too much of the genre that you’re currently writing in. If you’re struggling with this, then give your brain a break and read something completely different.
Read Writing Craft Books
Of course. Even the best writer is always learning. Keep your skills sharp by always writing, and by always learning from other writers.
Read Books for Research for your WIP
Ah, research – one of a writer’s favorite tools of procrastination. But seriously – whether you’re writing a contemporary story that takes place in a location you’ve never been to, a historical epic, or a sci-fi thriller full of science and technical jargon, research makes the story stronger.
Regardless of what you read (or don’t read) while you’re writing, I do believe in that old adage that writers are readers. Generally speaking, the more well-read you are, the more you have to draw on to improve and enhance you own writing.
So keep reading and keep writing!
8 thoughts on “What to Read While Writing”
Grace, I was wondering, do you have ideas on how many books we should read on average per year? I’ve been thinking about this, because I regularly get symptoms of the impostor syndrome, feeling that I don’t read enough. Is there even a number? Can there be?
I think that each person you might talk to about this would give you a different number. Honestly, I think that your enjoyment and learning from reading is far more important than the actual number of books you read. You can set a personal goal for yourself, if you’d like – for example, if you read 1 book a month last year, then next year you could resolve to read 2 books a month (or something else – set a personal goal that you think you can actually achieve). Comparing ourselves to others is something that can make imposter syndrome really bad (I speak from personal experience on this one).
If I were you, I would set a personal reading goal (like my example above). Or set a goal to read X number of writing books, X number of genre books, etc, or whatever you want to do. Read for yourself and no one else! 😉
Good advice, thanks! I used to pride myself on being a fast reader when I was younger, but these days I realise I’m actually really slow. 😀 I’m thinking fewer is better for me.
What’s your average for a year? I’m not asking to compare, just curious! 😀
I don’t know that I’ve ever counted. 😛 I’m a slow reader – or at least slower than I used to be. I know I read way more than 12 books a year (which comes out to about 1 book per month), but I’m nowhere close to those folks who read 52 books a year (1 book a week).
One book a week sounds horribly fast to me. 😀 One book a month is more my cuppa, I think! Say, any interesting book you’ve read recently?
I read all different sorts of books. You can check out my GoodReads page for all my latest reads! 😉 https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/15679627.Grace_E_Robinson
Hmm! Weiland’s “Storming” sounds interesting. I have an idea for a story where fighter pilots battle giant robots in 1920s, maybe this would be good fodder for that. 🙂
It was a fun book! You might get some ideas – especially if you’re wanting info or tips about flying a 1920s-era plane. 😉
LikeLiked by 1 person