There are many benefits of reading for writers. For instance, reading books lets you understand what the reader wants. The best writers read — a lot. If you want to become a good writer, you’re going to have to read too. If you don’t have the time to read, then you don’t have the time to write, as Stephen King once famously said. It doesn’t really matter what it is that you read. It can be anything. Diaries, magazines, books, blogs, periodicals, all of the above work just fine. As long as you’re reading something, you’re making progress.
As you go about reading, it’s important that you take down notes. As you read and write down notes, other unique thoughts will pop into your head, and it’ll be easy to come up with words of your own. There’s nothing quite as motivational as reading other peoples words and works. You see their originality, and you see that they’ve succeeded. So why can’t you do the same?
Reading doesn’t mean you have to stress out over finishing every book that you start — doing this simply defeats the purpose. Typically, people read to finish books — they don’t like to read a book half-way, only to abandon it and never see where the story was going to go. However, in your case, this doesn’t have to be the case. Finishing the book does not have to be one hundred percent necessary. There’s absolutely no reason that you can’t read blogs and books just for the sake of reading them. Some might call it browsing. This technique is a valid, good way of going about everything. As you read, you come across new ideas, new inspiration, and best of all; you fall back in love with writing — especially if you are in of those infamous writing blocks or mental plateaus.
So, don’t be afraid to read just for the sole purpose of adding new words and ideas to your mind. You can even study a language if you want. Anything is helpful. New words, new ideas, new vocabulary; all of this helps in the long run.
(Looking for a kick in the pants to get you back into books?)
On the other side of the coin, taking an interest in reading and completing novels is an excellent idea. Reading stories is an especially good idea if you like what you’re reading — not only do you expand your mind, and create motivation out of thin air, but you also end up creating good ideas of your own, based on the ideas in the book, whether you realize it or not. The subconscious really does work in mysterious ways. Besides, reading different genres of stories, especially fiction, really does give you a good idea of whats out there. Each writers voice is so different and unique and seeing how each of them works out together can give you a real appreciation of your own.
However, there’s more. As writers, we do much more than just read the book. We analyze it and ask ourselves a good variety of questions. Did we enjoy the book thoroughly, and if so, why? Were there any characters that stood out to us from among the others, and why? How did we feel about the pace, the environment, and atmosphere as a whole? Did it feel over-done, sparse, or perhaps, incredibly immersive? Were there any events that we’d like to change — and was the ending fitting and satisfactory?
All of these questions are important — because as a writer, these questions help us understand more about our writing style. It is in this way that we can further improve our writing.