Okay, so yesterday I ranted a little on being too scared to read in the genre you write in, and why I don’t believe there’s much truth behind the fear. There’s too much good to be found in reading and reading regularly to let something like that stop you from picking up a book.
As a writer, it’s vital to keep reading. At least for me. I guess some people out there can write beautiful works without ever having to read a book – hey, I’d like to meet you! Little old me? Yeah right. I can write every day for a year, but if I don’t read something in that time, I start to sound pretty dang bland if you ask me. My brain gets a little fuzzy on what ‘good’ writing looks like. I feel rusty and out of practice.
Not to mention the fact that my sanity starts to slip. I just can’t go that long without getting to enjoy a story without having to write it myself first!
One huge benefit from the writerly standpoint though… When I’m stuck on a scene, sometimes just removing myself from writing, picking up a book and reading for a few hours helps break down the wall. Sure, some days I can break down the wall by scrubbing the toilet and trying to brainstorm my way through the problem but… Some days, I have to get my brain off my story all together. Reading pushes my writing aside and lets me enjoy a story.
Take two nights ago for example. I’d finished my writing for the night, but was working on outlining a future project (which is hard enough, because outlining is very new to me and a whole ‘nother post on its own). I came to the Hero’s GMC and sat there stumped. I could see him clearly in this story in the scenes in my head… but the how and why of him? Pfft. Please. After twenty minutes of frustrated brainstorming I caved. I shut the document down, grabbed my Kindle and bought a book. An hour and a half later I sprang out of bed and rushed to the computer to jot down a major revelation on my Hero.
It had nothing at all to do with the book I was reading, but my subconscious had been mulling it over even when I hadn’t been. Such a handy little benefit to reading. What other benefits of reading do you enjoy?