When I started on my writing journey, I struggled to have time to write and read. I love writing, but not reading affected my mental health. Like many of us, I felt genuine guilt if I was doing anything other than writing. That included reading. Then I read that you needed to analyse text to be a good writer. It was all the permission I needed to get back into reading. Over the years of writing, my reading tastes have changed. I also read many books differently. However, nothing has got in the way of the pure pleasure I feel when I pick up a book and read. My partner states she always knows when I am coming to the end of a good book, as I get grumpy. She has a point. Recently I have noticed that my reading styles have changed. I have become more analytical in everything I read. Here are my suggestions to help your reading improve your writing.
Character development is essential for all writers. It is your characters, that keep your readers, reading. I have several books that I have stopped reading halfway through because I didn’t care for the characters. If you don’t care for the characters why would you want to keep reading, to find out what happened to them? As writers, you have to develop likeable characters that people relate to. These characters should be likeable, but realistic. Unless you are writing a fairy tale I would steer away from Prince Charming. Flawed characters are better to attract readers. It makes them more likeable. There are several writers that I admire for their character development. These are writers that I will visit again and again. It is no coincidence that most of them come from a series. A series allows a writer to develop a character more. Some of the characters I am going to speak about have almost become old friends. The development of these characters can teach us as writers many lessons.
Why as a reader you should be supporting other writers. As a writer, you can share your wisdom through your writing tips and stories of success. As a reader though you hold all the power. Think about your favourite author. You buy their books, pre-order their new editions and recommend their books. You as the reader have the power to make or break an author. The easiest way to thank these authors for their amazing work is by leaving a positive review. How many of you do this for every read? This reader power is also true on Medium. The first change we saw on Medium was for reading time to be converted into payment. This system personally changed the reader in me. I stopped skim reading and started digesting the work of others.
For many years I have been obsessed with quotes. My commonplace book has quotes from a variety of sources. Life quotes are those that follow you throughout the ages. Whether it is the first sentence or beautiful prose, I write them down. There are, however, five life quotes that have given me strength. Mantra’s to live by.
Eighty-two per cent of women have read at least one book in their lifetime. This is in contrast to 69% in men. As a female writer, I have supported many, who have been treated badly by their male counterparts. This, however, is not a new phenomenon. It has been happening for centuries within literature. The History of the Novel Orinoko was the first book ever published in English. It is thought to be Robinson Crusoe, but this is untrue.
The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go. — Dr Seuss Reading is a very personal hobby and one I have enjoyed for many years. Some of my best memories are of accompanying my mum to the library. To this day, there is a constant stream of paperbacks passed back and forward, between us. Speed is not essential in reading, as long as you are enjoying yourself. However, like any skill the more you practice it the better you get.