One way to make your writing better is to set and follow a reading list. Lately on the blog, we’ve been discussing writing goals. Every writer, whether cognizant of it or not, has writing goals that they’re constantly striving toward. Whether this is to write a screenplay, win a short story competition, or publish a book, it’s good to have dreams and goals to work toward. We recommend setting realistic writing goals that you can add to or expand, setting daily or weekly word counts, and experimenting with other genres to strengthen your craft and potentially find a new arena to self-publish in. Another important way to make your writing better? Read! Reading can strengthen your writing in a myriad of ways. This is why we recommend a reading list. Reading lists or reading challenges keep your mind active and keep you up-to-date on literary trends.
Reading Lists Keep You Active
Even if your goal is to read five books in 2019, that’s a goal worth having and sticking to. There are so many books published each year, whether that’s traditionally or self-published, and of course there’s no way to read them all, but making the conscious decision to pick up a book and read it all the way through (and then another and another) will make you a better writer. You can’t be a writer if you’re not a reader, just like you can’t be a doctor without going to school and learning. Reading is a study. It’s a practice. Reading sharpens your skills and hones your talent. This is why one of your New Year’s resolutions should be to create a reading list.
No matter what’s on your reading list – poetry collections, short story anthologies, classic novels, romance novels, memoirs, etc. – you will find that not only does your craft improve, but your mood and outlook on life just might, too.
Reading keeps your mind active. It’s also a great activity for down time. On days when the dreaded writer’s block hits, try reading. It might spark your creativity, and if not, then at least you’ll be relaxing with a good book.
A Reading List Immerses You in Your Chosen Genre
Reading books that are in the same genre that you want to write in will give you a good baseline to start at. For example, if you plan on self-publishing a science fiction book in 2019, then it’d be wise to create a reading list of popular science fiction novels. Reading will immerse you in your genre. You’ll get to explore various tropes and themes that are common in it. You’ll discover what you like, what you don’t like, what works, and what doesn’t.
Reading other popular books within your genre will familiarize you with the work you’re setting out to do. It’s unrealistic to expect to write a good fantasy novel if you’ve never read a fantasy novel.
Reading as Research
You may be surprised to find out that a lot of the writing process is research. Obviously if you’re writing a nonfiction book, whether it’s a biography or a cultural exploration, you’ll need to research the topic you’re discussing. Fiction may even demand a little research. Even though fiction is, by definition, made up, you’ll still need to ground it in some reality.
Reading lists, therefore, can supplement and bolster your writing. Whether you’re writing historical fiction, poetry, or a memoir, you’ll more likely than not have to do some sort of research. You may need to read up on the music or fashion trends of your chosen time period; you may need to look into how a particular flower grows; or you may need to research the town you grew up in. Whatever kind of book you’re writing, making a reading list to do research is a smart idea that will make your book that much stronger.
Reading List vs. Reading Challenge
While reading lists are a good idea for any reader, no matter their age or lifestyle, a reading challenge may not be. A reading challenge is exactly what it sounds like: you’re setting more than a list, you’re setting a goal. Maybe that’s to read one book a week or two a month. A reading challenge is great for those who operate better with a deadline in site. However, if you’re someone who can’t handle deadlines or the pressure they impose, a reading challenge may not be the best idea.
Reading and writing should be something you gain happiness from doing. If one gets to be too much, and you find yourself not enjoying it like you used to, then take a break! It’s easy to get burned out, even doing the things you love. Don’t let those things become what you hate. Writing goals and reading lists are great, but not if they’re causing a strain on your happiness.
It’s important, as writers and self-publishers, to give yourself goals. There won’t be external pressures from editors or traditional publishers, so it’s up to you to keep yourself on track and ever-growing, improving, and writing. Reading will only improve your craft. A reading list is the perfect pairing to a writing goal. You want to self-publish a book, but don’t know where to start? Read about it. You want to experiment with a new genre? Read popular books from that genre. You want to write a memoir? Read your old journals.
DiggyPOD will be with you every step of the self-publishing way. We offer comprehensive how-to guides and video tutorials, and our helpful customer service representatives are only a phone call away.
Make self-publishing your goal for 2019, and make it a reality with DiggyPOD!