As writers, we should never underestimate the importance of reading. We can’t hope to improve our craft without analyzing the work of others, learning what to do and (equally important) what not to do.
Experience is a good teacher, too, but we limit ourselves when we only focus on our own writing. Outside perspectives are crucial, exposing us to unique concepts and stylistic choices we might’ve never even considered. This is how we grow as writers – pushing the boundaries of our imaginations and exploring all possibilities.
Or as William Faulkner put it:
“Read, read, read. Read everything – trash, classics, good and bad, and see how they do it. Just like a carpenter who works as an apprentice and studies the master. Read! You’ll absorb it.
Then write. If it’s good, you’ll find out. If it’s not, throw it out of the window.”
Site Challenge: Reading like a Writer
September 1-30, 2018
To participate in this challenge, you’ll need to select one book to read. This should be a book that a.) you’ve never read, and b.) one you wouldn’t normally choose. Are you a fantasy junkie? Try a mystery or contemporary thriller. Obsessed with sci-fi? Why not try a historical romance?
The purpose of this challenge is to broaden our horizons. Let’s see how much we can learn by stepping outside our comfort zones.
Our other goal is to read critically. Rather than breezing through, let’s fully examine the material. What works for us? What doesn’t? What strategies and stylistic choices could we incorporate into our writing, and which aspects would we prefer to leave out?
Most importantly, this challenge is intended to start a dialogue. I’ve created a forum thread where we can share our insights, which I hope will be used often throughout the month of September. While there’s much we can learn from our reading material, this is also a wonderful opportunity to learn from each other.
What to Read
As mentioned, you should read something that falls outside of your typical genre(s). You can borrow a book from a friend or visit your local library, pick up something cheap on Amazon (or free, if you’re a Kindle Unlimited subscriber), or you can download classic books for free from Project Gutenberg.
How to Participate: Final Notes
Please comment below and let us know if you’ll be participating. You can also use the comments section to share book recommendations, ask for suggestions, and/or post any questions you might have.
Starting on September 1, the discussion will move to our official forum thread. You’re welcome (and strongly encouraged) to share your insights as you read your novel. You can do this chapter by chapter, once or twice a week, whatever suits your schedule. You’re also encouraged to comment on posts from other members, as long as you stay on topic.
We’d be thrilled to have you join us for this challenge. Feel free to register an account (it only takes a second) and introduce yourself in our forum. Our members and staff will be happy to help you get started. 🙂
Are you looking forward to this challenge? I know I am!
Heather is the owner/administrator of the Story Scribes community. She’s a prolific writer, web developer, and visual artist who spends every year counting down the days until NaNoWriMo.