A typical day for me starts at 4:00am. I get ready for work, I pack my kids’ lunchboxes and backpacks, then I head up to my office to write some articles, work on some social media, answer emails, etc. I take the kids to school and head to work, where luckily, I can’t access any social media sites or most blogs due to our strict filters (I say luckily because if I could, I’d never get any work done). I come home from the kids’ after school activities, hang out with them while I make dinner and we work on homework, we eat, then I go upstairs to my office again to write. I usually try to get in bed by 10:30 or 11:00. Then I wake up and repeat the cycle.
Do you see what’s missing from my day, besides massage therapy and chocolate? Reading. There isn’t a lot of time for me to read, and I get paid to write book reviews!
I’ve learned to steal my reading time here and there. I read in the car rider line at my kids’ school. I read at their activities. I read on my lunch hour. Anywhere I can. Why is the reading so important? Because it makes me a better writer.
Reading the books I like will have an impact on the voice I use as a writer. It will also affect my own plot lines and character development. But here’s a little secret: reading stuff I absolutely hate will also have an impact on my writing. It will make me more aware of my own writing style, it will force me to put extra thought into every word I write.
By reading as much as you can, you’re going to grow as a writer. Start reading everything as if you were a reviewer, and for that matter, start writing and posting reviews on places like Amazon and Goodreads, if you don’t already. It will help you to formalize what you want to say about someone else’s writing and force you to identify your likes and dislikes in a concrete way.