Reading for Writers

5:52 PM

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As writers, reading can become hard. Not just because we're busy but because we start to notice things we never did before and it bugs us. Here are some helpful hints for writers to help them enjoy reading.

Try not to read right after you've been editing. Take some time to do something else for a while, or even wait a day. You may or may not be able to shut off your inner editor. Taking some time to get out of editor mode helps.

Remember that some things are style preferences, not right and wrong. As a writer, we have our own styles and often have researched dos and don'ts. For instance, I'm writing a story and in the first chapter, I give some backstory so that you can understand the main character. One beta reader liked it, another didn't. Preferences and styles color how we read. Go in knowing that. 

Think about what you've been writing before you pick up a book. Here's a personal example: I had just finished A Different Kind of Courage, which is a book set during the American Revolution. I picked up a book set during the same time. I liked some aspects of it but there were several historical aspects of the book that really bothered me and kept me from enjoying it. 

Read what you are writing before or after, not during. Let me explain what I mean by that. One of the most common pieces of advice given to writers is to read books that are like theirs. This is good advice. However, when you are writing one genre/type of book, consider reading in another while you work on that story. This can help you enjoy the reading process more. 

Forgive yourself for reading slumps. It happens to the best of writers. Sometimes, the inner editor will not be shut off. It's okay to take a break from reading for a while or read only old favorites. This does not make you a bad reader or writer. 

Do you have any advice for reading as a writer?

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