Writing well hinges on two critical actions, writing and reading. They rely on each other. You can learn the basic skills of writing your family history, which I’ve attempted to share with you over these last 26 days. However, the art of writing can only really be achieved through writing and reading —A LOT! I know it’s a simple concept, but it’s not just about being a reader but an aggressive reader. You must be prepared to read everything in your path, absorb it, learn from it, allow it to inspire you and generate ideas for your own writing. Here are a few tips to help you move your reading to the next level in order that it may also enhance your writing.
- Concentrate on reading books in your genre but don’t limit yourself. Read a wide range of books in a wide range of genres.
- Just like writing make reading a habit – a daily habit.
- Set a reading goal, I try to read 3 books a month. I wish it could be more. Set a goal based on your own schedule. Join a book club; this is one of the best ways to make sure you’re reading on a regular basis and exposes you to a variety of books that others are choosing for you.
- Carry your reading with you; make the most of every opportunity to read.
- Read for enjoyment but also analyze character, plot and theme when reading.
- If a book resonates with you, read it a second time focusing on the more specifics of the story structure, the writer’s style and choices.
- Pay attention to the words, the preferences the writer makes and the organization and flow of those words.
- Don’t be afraid to take notes. It deepens your learning, gives you time to absorb what you’ve read and provides a resource for future reference.
- Write a review of a book you read, this provides you the opportunity to share some lessons you learned or explore some of the ideas it brought up for you.
- Read a wide range of writers from great writers, classic writers to current writers and unknown writers. There is a writing lesson in every book.
- Don’t waste time reading a book you don’t enjoy or understand. There are too many books in the world, put it down and move on to the next.
- Take cues from other writers. Experiment with concepts you see other writers doing, then take it one step further and manipulate it and make it your own.
Reading is not only inspiration for your writing; it is the greatest teacher you could employ, allow the works of other writers to fuel your muse and read, read, read.