Insecure Writers Support Group: How I Read Now

Insecure Writers Support Group

 

Hello, February!

If you’re new to Insecure Writer’s Support Group,  it’s a monthly blog hop where writers support each other. Easy as that!

Check out the IWSG Facebook Group and the list of participating blogs.

Purpose: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!

 
 

How has being a writer changed your experience as a reader?

Did you know Stephen King gave every writer permission to your ignore friends? In his book On Writing, King stresses the importance of reading. In order to write stories, you have to understand storytelling, and you do that by reading. Even if it means skipping lunch with coworkers to squeeze in a few chapters. Since I began writing, the number of books I read has tripled–no, quadrupled! I used to read around 10 or 20 books a year. Now I regularly read 50 minimum. In 2016 I read 90!

All that to say learning writing has changed how I read. Here’s a handy Top 10 List!

Writing Book Collection, Author Stephanie Scott

Photo: Stephanie Scott 2017

 

HOW I READ NOW:

TOP 10 WAYS BECOMING A WRITER CHANGED HOW I READ

  1. I no longer have “guilty pleasure” reads. I believe writers can learn from ANY book.
  2. But sometimes ANY book isn’t so great. I’ll give a not-great book 50 pages, then move on.
  3. If it’s a really great book, sometimes I’m simultaneously geeked and frustrated–can I ever write this well?
  4. I often skip to author acknowledgements to see who the writers thank–inspiring!
  5. Also thoroughly scoped out: the copyright page, dedication, and author notes.
  6. Enhanced trope radar. Plus, I’m impressed when an author spins a trope with a fresh perspective.
  7. I read more widely. People shower me with book recommendations. You like to write? Read this.
  8. In a matter of pages, I’ve analyzed point of view and storytelling technique.
  9. Oooh. That’s a great idea. Maybe I could … (IDEAS!)
  10. Buying books is research. Buying bookcases and decorating a reading nook: enhancing research!

If you’re a writer, how did writing change how you read? If you’re a reader, what’s your personal reading quirk?

 photo Stephanie Scott Signature WP Final_zpstxoy6qgi.jpg
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28 comments to Insecure Writers Support Group: How I Read Now

  • Totally on board there. I used to feel guilty about reading too, but it IS research, and it IS the key to writing well. Here’s to learning all we can from it!

    • So true! I read a book this week I would normally never pick up (sci-fi based on hard science–plus it was translated from Chinese!) It was for my book club and I am glad I took on the challenge.

  • I’ve made a goal to read more this year. I’m expanding my normal genre to include things I normally wouldn’t consider because it is research. I want to improve as a writer and since starting down this path, my reading has become more critical. Not in the sense that I aim to pick apart an author’s story, but I pay more attention to the details. Used to be if I was really interested in a particular scene I’d start to skim read to get to the ‘good stuff’. Now I don’t. I take my time, read and digest everything to get the full experience the author intended.

  • I wish I could say that buying books is research for me. XD I don’t have money for that… But I have been reading more too! Mostly audiobooks, as my adhd makes it difficult to sit still long enough to read a paper book. I’m glad to know Stephen King gave permission to ignore friends, though, because honestly, if I did that, I’d get a lot more reading done!

    • Stephanie Scott

      I’m a big fan of the library. I check out stacks and use the free apps hoopla and overdrive for ebooks and audiobooks from my library 🙂

  • I also approach reading as research, since I started writing, but I still enjoy it immensely! The first 10% is usually enough for me to realise the book is or isn’t for me. Before I leave it, I stop and try to analyse why exactly I didn’t like it, and sometimes I can’t pin point it, which bothers me. I think that idea is worth a post: What can make me stop reading a book…

  • I don’t think you can be a writer without being a reader. I try and soak up anything I can from the stuff I read and I’ve been trying to read more widely over the past couple of years.

  • Stephanie,
    I agree completely that it helps to read lots of different kind of books. I’ve never thought about it that way but I think I have an approx 50-page limit too. It’s funny how I never think about these things, like yes I’ll still read the front and end notes to get a gist of the person behind the screen before moving on. Thanks for the list!
    Anne

  • You’ve got such a great approach here. I love it. I have read 60-80 books per year in the past, but I find my writing suffers when I put my reading first. Still trying to find balance. But I love that u said writers can learn from any book. Love that! Kudos to you! 💖

    • Stephanie Scott

      I want to focus more on writing time this year. I also read manuscripts for other writers and judge contests, which all aren’t counted in my book tally! It just kills me that I have so many books on my shelf I haven’t read yet.

  • All (good) writers must be readers. I don’t think there’s a better way to learn how to write than reading.

    My list:

    1. I’m more critical. I noticed this by going back to some books I read when I was younger which I used to think were good, and now I’m noticing poor writing, sloppy plotting, poorly-done cliches, etc. To the point that my friends call me “snobby”. Eh, if the shoe fits…
    2. 50 pages is generous! If I don’t like the amount shown in the preview on Goodreads or Amazon, I won’t buy it, regardless of what the reviews say. I’ve been burned too many times by books that get good reviews and are actually bad.
    3. I write down all the great ideas I read and they definitely influence my own writing.
    4. I’m conscious about reading in my genre, but I also think going outside of it is important.

    • Stephanie Scott

      I rarely re-read books, but I imagine I’d find the same that some great books I liked when I was younger maybe aren’t so great. I’ve reread some classics like Little Women and Pride and Prejudice.

  • Victoria Adams

    Wow – impressed. No idea how you do it – or did you give up eating and sleeping – lol.
    Tweeted.

    • Stephanie Scott

      I have given up a lot of TV! Also I work from home most of the time now, so I save myself 2+ hours a day from commuting and getting ready for work. I try to make use of that time.

  • Hi Stephanie, great post today. I love your list and number 2 is right on. Sometimes 50 pages is too much though. Especially if it’s a bare bones read, or their is to much backstory bogging it down. Then I wonder if the author picked the right character to tell the story. Anyway, happy Wednesday. 🙂

    • Stephanie Scott

      For sure on the 50 pages – I’ve ditched books after 10 or in one case, page 2. The premise was so silly in that last one. It was a romance where a woman on page 1 physically runs into a guy in line somewhere and breaks his nose. It was supposed to be cute and funny but her noticing how hot he was as he was bleeding was too over the top for me!

  • I love your #1. Guilt has no place in research.

  • I absolutely agree that you can learn from any book. I’ve actually started to broaden out and read genres I wouldn’t have normally before and I’ve learned heaps from those books.

    • Stephanie Scott

      I just read a sci fi book for book club that I had a hard time with at the start. Once I got going it was fascinating. It was for sure a challenge.

  • I am SO impressed by your have read pile, wow! I read a lot too bUT definitely not enough for fun.
    What a great list too!

    • Stephanie Scott

      I wouldn’t read nearly as much without audiobooks. I download them right to my phone from the hoopla or overdrive apps connected through my library. So, free too!

  • I definitely need to read more. And I can’t believe being a huge Stephen King fan, I’ve never read On Writing. I’m gonna change that!

  • I need a how-to worksheet for analyzing books I’m reading. Do you have one? 😉

    I am so impressed that you read over 90 books a year! I struggle with 24! How do you do that and have a life? (And a blog, for that matter!) I can barely keep up most of the time!

  • I love reading the acknowledgments as well. 🙂

  • Enhanced trope radar – funny. But we do see those tropes so well now.
    Impressive how many books you read now!

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