You Must Read
It’s been said countless times: if you don’t read, you can’t write. While this is so simple, it is surprising how many people want to write, but say they don’t have time to read. This is akin to a person saying they want to be a professional basketball player, but they never watch how the professionals play the sport.
This is silly for two major reasons:
1) Creating everything from scratch is a lot more work.
2) You will make mistakes you could have avoided by looking at the experts.
My Reading Journey
A few years ago, I got serious about reading. Often people look at reading as a pleasurable pastime, and while it is, I am also working. As I read, I am analyzing how the author is creating the world, pushing the character on their arc, and keeping me turning the pages (or if the book isn’t very good, what they did to lose me). This is a unique type of reading, different from someone who picks up a book to escape into the story. Sometimes I still allow myself to do just that, but it has become harder and harder to separate the two.
My first goal on Goodreads was back in 2013 (if you’re a writer without a Goodreads account, get on it!). Being the ambitious little silly pants I am, I decided I would go from casual reading to 50 books in a year! Raise your hand if you could guess I didn’t make it. That year, I didn’t even come close. I read 15. So in 2014 I set a more realistic goal of 25 books and I reached it. Every year since, I upped my goal (by a reasonable amount). This year’s goal is 52 books. Currently, I am on book 19, which means I am four books ahead of schedule! Just like working out, you need to build up your reading muscle.
Now, even by upping reading goals, our days are short, and our book lists too long.
Enter Read to Write- A Book Club for Writers
Read to Write will differ from the typical book club in the following ways:
1) Each writer will suggest books that are fantastic in different craft categories: plot, character, point of view, etc.
2) When a writer needs help with a craft issue, they will have a curated list of suggested books to dig into.
3) As writers read, they can take notes and comment on the craft elements used by the author and post them to the club.
4) This will give writers the benefit of another’s reading, allowing us to study more books in less time!
Of course, we can still nerd out with digital meetings. I’ll never say no to a book chat and a personal beverage, but I hope that the Read to Write community will fulfil a need not satisfied by the average book club.