What do writers read? Anything, everything, all the time. Reading for fun is well, … fun. Because we can be a serious bunch, fun is good to leaven our lives and minds.
Reading is research– research into the way others handle writerly tricks of the trade: timelines, voice, person, citations, dialogue, setting. Reading with a writer’s eye can provide your own seminar on the author at hand.
Reading is footwork. What is selling these days? What are the hot topics? Also, how are we punctuating these days? What is up with the third serial comma? Chickens, roosters, and ducks? Or capons, hens and geese?
Reading is stretching into new territories. Volunteer to read for book or story contests. Read to kids in the library. Read stuff you don’t usually touch for age groups you don’t fit or write for. Stir up those creative juices and increase the chances of new mixes and crosses. And mostly, get out and away from your desk and computer for a some air once in a while.
Reading is learning what current writing professionals think is worthy of your time. Troll the NYT Book Reviews for books to read. Check out your library’s suggested reading for what is new and interesting. Look at the various bestsellers lists.
This summer, I’ve read books about marketing books (footwork), books about Georgia O’Keeffe (fun), and tons of National Geographic articles(stretch). I read The Art of Fielding by Chad Harbach (research and fun). What have you been doing?