Reading and writing are like love and marriage; they go together like a horse and carriage. To divorce the love affair of reading and writing is a tragedy. If you love to write, the chances are that you loved to read first. If you love to read, you have probably thought about being a writer.
If you are an aspiring writer, continuing to read religiously is a crucial element of your development as a writer. As J. K. Rowling puts it, “The most important thing is to read as much as you can. It will give you an understanding of what makes good writing and it will enlarge your vocabulary.”
If you want to write for a particular genre, for example young adults, I’d encourage you to make sure at least some of the books you read fall into this category. Get to know what sort of stories exist for the age group, and learn appropriate levels of language, graphic imagery, and so on. It’s important that you are reading for personal pleasure, so by all means step beyond just purely reading for homework, but hopefully, if you’ve decided to write for a certain age group or genre, it’s because you also enjoy reading those types of books as well.
I set myself a challenge each year of a certain number of books to read, and I keep a list of those I’ve read. It’s interesting to reflect on the different styles I’ve read, as well as a good way to keep myself accountable that I am reading regularly. I also get bored easily and I usually have about five or six books on the go! As long as I keep reading and I finish them eventually, this is definitely something that works for me, and means I can pick up one of the books that I feel like depending on my mood. I’m unlikely to want to read a theology book before going to bed, and would much prefer a young adult fiction. But on the weekend, when I want to stir my brain and I am pondering some questions, the theology book would probably be my first pick.
In case anyone is interested, these are the books I’m currently reading: 🙂
On Writing – Steven King
The Four Loves – C. S. Lewis
Writing Magic – Gail Carson Levine
The Message of Matthew – Michael Green
The Handmaid’s Tale – Margaret Atwood
Escape to Ecclesia – Lisa Shah