Three years ago when I started this thing I posted about breaking writer’s block through reading. It’s been said by people cooler than myself that buying into writer’s block is a mug’s game, so I won’t totally re-create that previous post. I will, however, re-post some of the advice from back then, because it’s still true.
First of all, if you read what you’re interested in, especially if it’s in the area where you want to write, you’re likely to find inspiration. For my part, I started writing because the stories I felt needed to be told weren’t being written, or perhaps I could write them better. Reading new works coming out today make sure that the readers are still interested in my stories.
There’s also the fact that by reading new stories, you get a sense for the competition. If you check the bestseller lists, or follow the hype, and read some of what most people are reading in your genre, you’ll see why the stories are selling in the millions.
Tips for reading
- Don’t read at your computer or writing desk. Find a well-lit, comfortable place and put a book or magazine (or even a comic book!) in your hands. Besides relaxing your eyes a bit, the tactile sensations will take you out of your frustration. Any change of pace is good in situations like this.
- Take your time. Don’t skim, if you can help it, and pay attention to little details and conversations within the dialogue.
- Jot down notes. Have a pen and paper handy and write down ideas that come to you as you read. Even if they turn out to be ideas you don’t use, it’ll engage the creative centers of your mind.
- Relax! If you can’t enjoy reading, how can you enjoy writing?