Friday, March 4, 2011

Crush your writerly woes and read!

I feel like every time I have a lot of stuff to get done, the books that I reserved at the library weeks ago finally come in. And they all do this at once, despite the fact that the internet told me that there were 8 holds on one book and only 3 on the other.

This, of course, isn't me complaining. I'm always good with multiple piles of books cluttering up my desk. I mean, books are awesome and writers should read as many as they can get their grubby fingers on.

It astounds me that some writers don't read. If you want to study craft, the best way to go about it is by reading books. They don't have to be books in your genre or age group--just books in general. Reading is one of the best things you can do to make yourself a better writer because it shows you what publishable writing looks like.

And I know, the excuses are endless. Here is what I have to say to them:
  • I don't want anything to influence my writing style (is that 100% a bad thing? really?)
  • I would rather spend time with my own novel (uhh, self-centered much?)
  • I'd rather do something completely unrelated when not writing (yet you want people to read your book?)
  • I don't want to spend the money on new books (libraries! or free e-books!)
Frankly, these are all ridiculous (if you didn't get that from the snarky comments). You should be reading. A lot.

And to help motivate you, I present the idea of a reading goal. Turn reading into a competition and leave your fellow readers wallowing in the dust. There's nothing like the schadenfreude of crushing the unworthy!


Having a goal always makes things more exciting. There are a bunch of great reading challenges on the net, like the ebook challenge, the global book challenge, and the YA debut author challenge to mention a few. Personally, I'm participating in the Goodreads 2011 Reading Challenge and am aiming for at least 50 books this year.

So, what do you guys think? To read, or not to read? Have any of you set a reading challenge for 2011? If so, how are you doing on it? If not, well, it's never too late to start! Tell me your thoughts in the comments.


Birgit said...

The answer is, to read.
And I couldn't agree more, every writer should read, even on a daily basis. And while I sometimes cringe at what kind of books are popular (aka very successfully published), I often come across some rare gems of the written word that leave their marks on me as a writer too. That's far from being a bad thing and it certainly doesn't tarnish my style.
Oh and I also participate in a reading challenge - 100 books for 2011 - and so far I'm doing great (already reading no. 26, though in all fairness, I kind of picked the thinner volumes and not the fat tomes so far, ha).

Jessie said...

OMG, read! Read, read, read! This post echoes my feelings exactly. Reading fuels writing. You can't be a good writer without reading. Period.

I'm participating in the 2011 Global Reading Challenge--three books from each continent, each from a different country. I'm just loving all the different books from around the world.

And the library thing totally happens to me all the time. Whenever I'm the most busy, like five of my reserved books come in. So annoying.

Fletch8502 said...

All good points, especially your response to the comment that people want to do something unrelated when not writing. So true!!!

I'm doing the YA Debut Author Challenge, and I agree that it's a good thing to have a reading goal. Thanks for sharing those other challenges as well! I've only read 1 book for the debut challenge so far, but I have a couple that I'm on the waiting list for at the library, so my numbers will pick up after those come in.

Happy reading!

Erin @ Quitting My Day Job

Jackie said...

Definitely To Read! The more the better! This is the first year I'm participating in any challenges. My goal is to read 50 books this year and 20 of them being e-books. I've always been weary of setting a goal for myself because it's not likely that I will attain it.

I've been following loads of book review blogs for a while and they all make me realize how slow of a reader I am! I get distracted a lot when I'm reading. I don't know if that says something about me or the books that I'm reading. *ponders*

Max said...

What do I think? I think I love your snarky comments and schadenfreude is the coolest word I have ever learned.

Sarah Robertson said...

Hear, here! Though, I have to say even the cringe-worthy books have something important to share. Every published book is doing at least one thing good, be it the author's platform (in the case of Snookie's books) or dream fulfillment (the Twilight Saga). Maybe it's not the prose, or the story, but I think there's still something to be said about that. :)

And good luck on your challenge! I only have 15 books under my belt thus far, so you're doing better than me!

Sarah Robertson said...

I thought the Global Reading Challenge sounded fun! Glad to hear you're enjoying it. Right now I'm trying to catch up with all of the YA books I didn't read during college (I was too busy trying to read my coursework!), but maybe next year!

Sarah Robertson said...

I was tempted by the YA Debut Author Challenge, but my local library is kind of bad about getting new YA releases in a timely manner unless they're the kind of books that are instant best-sellers. They don't have a specific librarian for the YA section, which has something to do with it, but it's still kind of depressing.

And happy reading to you too!

Sarah Robertson said...

I think it's nice to have a goal to strive for. I'm kinda pathetic in the sense that I set myself a lower goal, was doing good, and then raised it. >_> Not exactly how these things are supposed to work!

And I don't know where book bloggers get the time! They truly amaze me. I'm a pretty fast reader and usually manage to finish things in one day (because I want to know what happens next RIGHT NOW!), but still! I'm not sure I could handle that much reading and reviewing!

Sarah Robertson said...

Haha, thanks! And schadenfreude is pretty much the best word ever. Just saying. >:D

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