2018 is right around the corner. Literally, there’s what two (?) weeks left for the entire year.
Sorry. There’s 11 days left and people are wrapping up all kinds of things. i.e. gifts, goals and of course their reading lists. I for one am one of those people. I have 458 pages left on Stephen King’s IT and I’ll have reached my lofty goal of 15 books this year. For those of you who read 50 to a 100 books in one year this may not seem like a whole lot, but I started out with the mind set of reading 12 books and finished 15, most of those pretty good sized books like IT.
If you haven’t seen it, just know that in any print it’s a behometh of a book.
That’s not including all the books on writing and my 99 cent romance novels I get on Kindle. I don’t count those for some reason, though I guess I could and that would lead my reading number into the twenties, but we won’t go there.
This blog isn’t about my reading goals, or what I have and haven’t read. We could get into that another time, or you can just check out my goodreads list on the side bar.
This blog is about why you should be reading. Even when it’s the end of the year and things are usually wrapped up tight with a pretty little bow on top.
My family, heck my 13 year old niece, could attest that I’m never one without a book. In fact, I already know which book I’m reading when I finish up IT because that’s the kind of person I am. I keep reading.
For various reasons.
1. It’s my safe space.
This past couple of years you’ve heard that word a lot. People needing places to go for quiet and a sense of security. I never really needed a specific place, I just needed a book and a place to seat and I can find myself escaping whatever dilemma is eating away at me and I’m fine. Of course, like with most safe spaces, you are going to have to come out and deal with those problems but while I’m reading that’s best left for another time.
2. It’s relaxing
I don’t know about you, but when I start reading a really good book I go into a kind of trance. To the point I don’t hear or see anyone else around me. I once had someone rip a book from my hands cause they’ve been trying to get my attention. ( The death glare they received.) But they had been saying my name for ten minutes, and even attempted to wave their hands in front of the pages. Never even seen or heard them.
But when that happens and I finally come back to reality, usually at the end of the book, I feel like I’ve had one of those really good nights sleep that you only see on Hollywood movies.
3. Books are Informative
Most of the time we don’t realize we’re learning something while reading until it comes up in later discussion. Especially when reading fantasy novels. Those are the good books though. The ones that teach you things and broadens your horizons without actually telling the readers what it’s doing. It just happens.
One minute, you are clueless about some old roman king… ruler… whatever and the next you’re reading about the same roman leader in a text book at school and you’re the only kid that has an answer for the teacher.
This honestly happened to me in Highschool and it was hilarious when I had to explain how I knew who Charlamagne was before even reading the history book.
Of course non-fiction books are even better at this, but you’re getting the idea.
Fantasy is best for those random bits of facts that you don’t realize are being sprinkled in there until it’s to late. Non-fiction is better at actually teaching you stuff. Seriously, if you are a writer and find yourself lacking ideas for stories, pick up a couple of non-fictions stories and see where it takes you. I mean where do you think all those, “based on true events” movies come from.
4. You pick up the Do’s and Don’ts of writing
This is aimed more for my scribbler buddies out there. At some point in our writing careers we start picking apart other peoples writing subconsciously. Rather it’s a friend’s writing or the Harry Potter book that you’re reading for the umptenth time. We start looking for those things that everyone seems to be doing, or shouldn’t be doing, and it helps in our own writing.
We usually don’t mean to do this. Especially when we’re just trying to sit back and enjoy a good book but it happens and sometimes it’s for the better. Sometimes it’s for the worst because you have to rewrite an entire chapter that is starting to read like a Stephen King book.
Yes, I’ve been guilty of this.
But that’s why you should read widely and not stick to one author or genre. Harking back to that previous point of ‘broaden your horizons.’
5. Last, but not least, it helps you find your voice
Again, this is aimed for those writers that pop on here, but reading widely and various different authors can in fact help you find your voice. Over time you find that you’ve attempted, either intentionally or not, to write like one specific author or another and some where in between stalled WIP’s and half forgotten narratives, you’ve found a particular way you like to write.
You’ve found your voice.
Now this isn’t to say that that’s going to be your voice from now til the end of your writing days. It could change. It could evolve. It happens because people change. You aren’t who you were twenty years ago and you won’t be who you are now twenty years from now.
You grow and so does you’re writing.
That’s why you need to keep reading so that your writing can keep evolving. The more you read the more your brain tucks all that useless information inside and the more you have to use toward your stories and your characters. Think of it as an unlimited supply of ammo that you can continue stocking up on anytime, anywhere.
Rather you read for enjoyment, or knowledge, or whatever. Just keep reading. Keeping swallowing up those stories and carry them with you.