If you don’t have the time to read, you don’t have the time or the tools to write. Stephen King said that. And it’s completely true. Reading is a tool for writers. It’s a better tool than those self-help books for writers, the ones that tell you how to overcome writers block. And then there are the ones that tell you how to write a book in a month. Something I find completely impossible after trying it myself. That book went to Goodwill very quickly. Sure, I was able to write a lot in one month but nothing I could consider a book. And to be honest, I think setting a goal is good, but it’s okay to go past that goal when it comes to writing because you might discover that what you wanted to write in the beginning is now a completely different story.
Some might say that reading while writing will make you write like those writers and yes, this is true. Definitely. But without reading, without absorbing language like a sponge and therefore having something to wring out onto the page, I find myself limited. Perhaps, today I’ll write like this author or this one. Maybe, I’ll take what they did in that action sequence, how they wrote it all quiet and do that here. Each paragraph you read can give you ammunition in your belt, help you break through barriers and writer’s block.
So read. And read often. Read everything. I read books that are similar in some way to my own story. I read Rae Carson’s WALK ON EARTH A STRANGER because I wanted to read about a woman going on an adventure that just might kill her. I read Victoria Aveyard’s RED QUEEN to hear the story of someone who has a new and unexpected fate thrust upon them. And right now I’m reading Robin LaFever’s MORTAL HEART because I want to read about a woman who has to keep secrets (not to mention it’s about assassin nuns in ancient France and… well.. enough said, right?). All of these will help me flesh out my own stories, give me inspiration, take me down new lanes I didn’t expect to be taking. But more than anything — I like reading what makes me happy and inspires me as a writer. I’ll take chances on something new when I’m taking a break (which is also important).
Now go find something to read and get back to writing.