Today when I get off work I will be reading a book. Now, you may not think that reading is a real project task, but it is important for TWO reasons:
1) I need to recharge my battery. When I first started writing, I met a number of published authors who kept telling me not to forget to read books. I’ll be honest and confess that I didn’t pay attention to them. After all, I was working a full-time day job AND attempting to write nights and weekends. How in the world did that leave time to read? And I should have listened to them – hello???? They are published so they’re doing something right! As a writer, you need to make time to read. Why? You know better than to ask, I can pontificate for hours…
If you write and remain alone in your writing world without letting other worlds in, your creativity will become stagnant.
You write because you love to read (I assume this is true. I’ve never met an author who tells me they hate to read!). So if you sacrifice something you love to write, you will begin to resent your writing.
Reading good fiction helps improve your writing! For many of us we read a book and fall in love with it, but we may not be able to explain WHY we thought it was good. As a writer, the longer you write and improve your craft, the more you start identifying what makes a good book versus a so-so book. Maybe it’s the rich characters or the conflict or plot. But good writing spurs imagination and helps improve skills.
2) I want to pay it forward. The book I am reading is actually one that a good friend of mine wrote. I enjoy reading my friends books. It is wonderful to see how their minds work and how their stories develop. This friend is actually one of my critique partners so I saw this book at its inception. It is an interesting journey to travel with a writer as they write, re-write, edit, re-edit. Now I get to see the finished product.
I also like to read my author friends’ books because I think it is a way of celebrating them as creative people. I am validating their hard work by actually spending the time reading (and enjoying) what they spent months writing. How cool is that!
So after I post this, I will be shutting off my computer and picking up a book (technically my e-reader) but you get the idea!