I have recently joined the Insecure Writer’s Support Group, which I discovered through the excellent blog of author Jean Davis.
And as a newly active member of the group, this is my first IWSG monthly first-Wednesday question:
Everyone has a favorite genre or genres to write. But what about your reading preferences? Do you read widely or only within the genre(s) you create stories for? What motivates your reading choice?
That is a very good question. Two things motivate my reading choices: a diversity of reading, and that one book I just gotta read right now. And there are secondary concerns, such as books which have been sitting around forever, and when my mind is in a particular space in which it will only be satisfied by e.g. poetry or Russian literature. Or Russian poetry.
I take as my guiding star Karen Lord‘s advice to “read well”. Find the books which are good examples of the kind of book I would like to write and, well, read them!
That doesn’t mean everything I read is practice for something I hope to write. I am motivated more than anything by curiosity. In my library I have scores of anthologies covering a great many subjects and styles of writing. My day job is mentally demanding and I am happy to indulge in purely escapist reading as time and opportunity allow. For example, last summer I did a deep dive into the Forgotten Realms novels and read the first twenty or so Drizzt Do’Urden novels by R.A. Salvatore.
Then again this past October I participated in the Sealey Challenge and read 31 books of poetry in 31 days. And a couple of weeks ago, after almost three decades of attempting it and failing, I finally read the entirety of The Brothers Karamazov.
So what motivates my reading? Ultimately I think I read whatever it feels important that I read next. And that could be anything.
And on a tangent, this wide and varied reading habit helps me through bouts of writing block and imposter syndrome. Usually if I am reading something which is too close to what I am writing I start to compare the one with the other, and therefore reading something outside of that channel is a good way to reset myself, mentally and emotionally, so I can get return to the writing practice with a clear mind.
What motivates your reading? Let me know in the comments!
The Insecure Writer’s Support Group
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and supporting insecure writers
in all phases of their careers.