All writers start out as readers.

It’s how we get inspired to write in the first place. We see what other people have done, and we decide we want in.

But it’s important not to forget to keep reading.

First, reading is inspirational. We see what other people are doing and it sparks ideas. We get into another author’s style, and we want to try the same techniques. (We might also discover that, say, dinosaur mystery thrillers are a big trend at the moment and try to cash in, but I’m not sure the world is ready for my rendition of Tyrannosaurus Holmes…)

Second, reading is educational. We learned all the words we know through reading – I still come across new ones now and again. It introduces us to new ideas, new concepts, new philosophies.

But most of all, we need to keep reading because it’s fun.

If you don’t already find time to read, you need to make some. It doesn’t have to be worthy literature. It doesn’t have to be serious, or trendy, or even particularly good (you can learn a lot from a bad writer!) just as long as you read something. It helps to read a variety of authors, not just stick with your favourite, but whatever it takes to get you reading is fine. If you have children, reading is even better – you can read to them, and with them.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have about four books in my backlog…

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