Read Your Way to Better Writing

Read Your Way To Better Writing

I read. A lot. I’m on a first name basis with the children’s librarians at the public library. I almost always have a book stashed in my purse and the kindle app on my phone for backup.

Reading is it’s own reward, of course, but it also makes me a better writer.

  • R is for Research. I read to learn about the topics I am writing about. For me that means lots of science topics.
  • R is for (market) Research. I reading new books in my genre to help me spot market trends and understand modern publishing.
  • R is for cRaft. When I read books, I learn how to improve my writing. What works, what doesn’t, and what speaks to me.

How much do you need to read? In a recent webinar, picture book author Tara Lazar suggested reading 1000 picture books published in the last 5 years.

Daunting? Yes.

Doable? Yes.

Last year I read over 500 unique books to my children. The previous year it was over 350. We do read more than average but if you cut out the repeats it can be done in a lot less time.

And yes, I have amassed a fair bit of market knowledge. I’m that mom. The one that pimps out books at the playground.

“Oh, your kid likes to build things? Have you read Rosie Revere Engineer? And Iggy Peck ArchitectAnd there’s publishing a new one in the series, Ada Twist Scientist.

“You’ve never read the Knuffle Bunny books? Here, let me draw you a map to the shelf with the Mo Willems books at the library. While you’re there get the Pigeon books. And Goldilocks and the Three Dinosaurs. And…. You’d better just take all the Mo Willems books.”

I can make book recommendations based on age and reading level without even checking Amazon.

But there’s always more to read. Kids grow and change. So does our collective taste in books. And good writers are always learning and growing.

So if your goal is to read more books in your genre, accountability will keep you on track. GoodReads is making that easy with their 2016 Reading Challenge.

As of this writing, I’m quite a bit behind on my 2016 goal with only 92 books to my name. That’s still pretty impressive even for an ingrained bookworm like myself.

Next time I’ll let you in on my secret for getting more reading done.

 

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