Truth time. How many of you out there are voracious readers? Further, how many of you are voracious readers of amateur fiction? My advice for this post may seem a little off, but hear me out.
If you’re not already, I think you should be reading at least a chapter a day of something that hasn’t been published.
I know what you’re thinking, “Man, he’s just trying to con me into reading his crap.” Boy do I wish the answer were that simple. The truth is this post was inspired by a writer friend of mine. I asked him, “What are you reading currently.” To which I got the response: “I don’t have time to read. I’m a writer.”
I’ll let you catch your breath.
First, one cannot be a writer without being a reader. I don’t care who disagrees. The first person to comment here that’s had a book published and tells me they don’t read anything because they’re a writer wins a prize. Second, writers should not only be writing their own fiction, but they should be helping others discover the power, beauty, and fun of words. Whether that means helping someone learn to read or learn to write is sort of moot. It all blends together.
Now, why am I suggesting you read non-published works? There are a few reasons: (1) If you’ve found someone like my friend, this will teach you how not to write. [Which is actually very important.] (2) You can more readily see where common mistakes are occuring. (3) And most important, you can begin to network with these other writers. No matter what kinds of errors they’re making, they can teach you something, and you can teach them.
Folks, it takes a village to write a novel.