You know how your dentist can tell whether or not you’ve been flossing by how your gums look? It is just one of those things you can’t lie about right? Well, your editor can tell if you’re a reader by how your manuscript looks. It kills me when I talk to an author and they tell me they don’t read. My first thought is usually “then how can you possibly have anything to say?” But, after I hush my inner English professor I listen further and what they are saying is that they don’t have time to read, which translates into “I don’t have time to read and write my book.” I get it. Life is busy, and we only get 24 hours to play with but, what if I told you that just by reading for 30 minutes a day you could become a better writer?
Aside from the normal benefits of reading such as mental stimulation, (the kind that keeps Alzheimer’s away), stress reduction and general knowledge, reading for just 30 minutes a day will improve your vocabulary (making your sentences less boring). It will also teach you about grammar and proper sentence structure on the sly (you won’t even know you are learning it), and stimulate your creativity.
Also, there is no better cure for writer's block than reading (preferably outside your normal genre). Reading activates pleasure centers in the brain which not only relax you but also sharpens your problem-solving skills and makes you more open to new ideas. So, the next time your writing is stopped cold by writers block, grab the book your sister gave you for Christmas or download one on your iPad and read for about 30 minutes. I suggest reading a book outside the genre you are writing in to avoid the “Wow; I suck as a writer because this guy is so much better than me,” conversation every writer has with herself.
Make this a habit. Become a better writer!