Have you ever met someone who says they're a writer but they don't spend a lot of time reading?
If you love to write and you want your dream of writing to go beyond filling journals with your daily ramblings, you need to be a reader.
This isn't new advice. Many writers have voiced it in some form or another. J.K. Rowling said,
"You can’t be a good writer without being a devoted reader."
If you are writing a book, here are some of the best books to be reading:
Read Books in your Genre & for your Audience
When writing my book I was given this advise, "glance don't gawk." When you write a book proposal you have to find competitive titles that are similar to your book to prove there is a need in the market for your book. These are the kinds of books you should read so that you are aware of what others are saying. But be careful not to "gawk" or look to long at what they are saying.
Keep the unique voice of your book throughout the process while familiarizing yourself with books that are similar to yours before writing your own.
Then dive into your book aware of what else is being said and how it's being said, but stay consistent to the tone your reader expects from you. This will be different depending on your project, but a good starting place is the Amazon bestsellers list.
Read Books on Craft
There are incredible tactical books out there that will prepare your pen for the page. Read books that invite new ideas on how to write into your mind.
Challenge yourself with new tactics and jump into craft books that will keep your writing fresh.
If you're writing fiction, you'll want to read books about plot, character development, and the art of storytelling. If you're writing nonfiction, you'll want to look for books that connect the craft of writing to the genre you're working on.
Approach these books like a student and look for the kinds of books that would interest a college professor. A favorite for fiction is The First Five Pages and a favorite for nonfiction is On Writing.
Read Books on Mindset
All great writers know that the difficulty of writing doesn't start when you sit down at your desk, it starts as soon as you wake up in the morning in your mind. Most of the issues preventing my clients from putting words on the page have very little to do with writing.
They have the tools they need to write a book, they just don't believe they can do it
because their dad said writing wasn't a career when they were fifteen or they have three little kids running around and worry their husband won't appreciate their dream of being a novelist. Book about your mindset will be a lifeline during this time.
I love books like Writers on Writing that have essays written by writers so that I'm reminded I'm not alone in the drudgery of the writing process. Workbooks like The Artist's Way and inspirational books like Walking on Water can all help revive healthy mindsets during the writing journey.
Read Books for Fun
You probably started writing because you love it. We tend to forget during the writing process that one of the reasons we put ourselves through the difficulty of writing is because a part of us fully believes that reading and writing are a ton of fun. Don't let yourself forget to have fun! To remind yourself that books are fun and that writing is your dream, read books for fun. Two of my favorite books will always be Where the Sidewalk Ends and Click, Clack, Moo: Cows that Type.
Maybe they're categorized as "children's books" but I fell in love with poetry in second grade because of the poem about a gorilla going to school and I met the author of Click, Clack, Moo in my local library and left saying, I'm going to do that one day.
When writing feels like it sucks, I pull those out. Have fun books on standby, and you'll find yourself laughing at how you tried to make writing so serious.