I’m a writer who reads incessantly. I believe it’s a healthy and a much-needed approach to creating exciting stories and valuable nonfiction. My reading list includes . . . texts, emails, articles, blogs, novels, nonfiction, devotionals, even cereal boxes.
Every written word is a learning experience, and every sentence is a textbook. My goal is to take what I discover to determine if the principle can be applied to my writing.
Reading while writing encourages me to soar above my best. And here are my 10 reasons why:
1. Appreciate the creativity and imagination of others.
How a writer expresses him/herself through words is an art, a type of beauty that weaves sensory perception into a new adventure.
2. Approach a topic to improve me.
Fiction is a nonthreatening environment to explore our world through story and characters, providing us a unique perspective.
Nonfiction uses facts, documented events, and real people to teach concepts. We read those authors who are committed to truth and accuracy to improve our lives physically, mentally, and spiritually.
3. Challenge me to try a new technique.
Some techniques add a positive dimension to our writing. Others don’t work for us, and we choose to discard them. But until we give one a try, we will never know if a new technique improves and enhances our style, voice, and presentation.
4. Cultivate new ideas.
I believe writers who are open to new ideas are successful. Too many times we get stuck in the same plot line, character, nonfiction focus, method of delivery, or marketing and promotion. Concepts, viewpoints, and opinions that motivate us to review our old practices also cause us to grow in our craft.
5. Deepen characterization.
Studying other novels and authors demonstrates the many ways all areas of novel writing deepens characterization. A word, a phrase, a gesture, or a new perspective can improve a story.
6. Discover what the competition is publishing.
How can I become a better writer if I don’t know what fills the bestseller lists or retailer shelves? Writing fiction or nonfiction is competitive, and we must read and study to win the race.
7. Enjoy the book.
We read to find entertainment, inspiration, encouragement, learn new things about the world and ourselves, and engage our minds in the many possibilities for mental and spiritual growth.
8. Explore plotting techniques.
All the plots have been written, and every story falls into one of those categories. Yet, every writer is a distinct personality who offers a method of spinning his/her story.
9. Increase my vocabulary.
Writers crave and love words. It’s who we are. We ask, “Will this word work for my character or nonfiction topic?” Many writers (like me) have a file of hundreds of favorite words, their meanings, and an example of how to use the word in a sentence.
10. Reading is my mentor.
A writer who reads discovers what he/she prefers A book that fails me as a reader, can mentor me not to use a specific method or technique. If I’m halted in my reading for some reason, pause and analyze why. I certainly wouldn’t want to add those to my own writing.
These are my reasons for reading while I’m writing. What are yours?
DiAnn Mills is a bestselling author who believes her readers should expect an adventure. She weaves memorable characters with unpredictable plots to create action-packed, suspense-filled novels. DiAnn believes every breath of life is someone’s story, so why not capture those moments and create a thrilling adventure? Her titles have appeared on the CBA and ECPA bestseller lists; won two Christy Awards; and been finalists for the RITA, Daphne Du Maurier, Inspirational Readers’ Choice, and Carol award contests. DiAnn is a founding board member of the American Christian Fiction Writers, a member of Advanced Writers and Speakers Association, Mystery Writers of America, Sisters in Crime, and International Thriller Writers. She is the director of The Blue Ridge Mountain Christian Writers Conference, Mountainside Marketing Conference, and the Mountainside Novelist Retreat with social media specialist Edie Melson where she continues her passion of helping other writers be successful.
Visit DiAnn Mills at https://diannmills.com/, https://www.facebook.com/diannmills, https://twitter.com/diannmills