Step Three: Read What’s Not Your Style

Read What Scares You:
Read Anything and Everything

This step goes hand in hand with the last step. Step 2 was all about reading all the time. Seriously, read more than you sleep if you can help it. This one is more focused on what you choose to read.

Let me start off with what Chuck has to say… 

Here then is the prison that writers build for themselves: it becomes harder and harder to read purely for pleasure. Reading for pleasure often means sticking to a few genres, with a few authors — “Oh, I like fantasy, so I only read fantasy fiction,” or, “I love the Detective Cashew Pepper series by K. J. Staplebottom, and I’ve read up to #47 in the series.” That privilege has been revoked. You now must read widely, weirdly, wisely. Read everything. Move outside your desired library. Read obscure British literature. Read poetry. Read non-fiction. Read science-fiction even though you hate science-fiction. If you want to do what everybody else is doing, fine, read only in your pre-existing sphere of influences. But this is about improving your work, not treading water like a poodle who fell off a boat.”

This is a amazing advice and something that I don’t think enough people hear enough. Like I mentioned before, writers are always told to write everyday. I mean that’s advice that’s across the board good to know and good to pass along. And yes, writer’s are also told to read a lot. However, I think people (me included) pigeon-hole themselves when it comes to the content of what they choose to read. Me? I’m not big on realistic fiction. I tend to read just fantasy. And that’s LAME! If I never read realistic fiction then I would never have found John Green (whom I love and I tend to study his dialogue like no one’s business). But see! If I never read him, I’d never have seen how awesome his dialogue is, and my dialogue might be a little less awesome. (Writer’s tend to know what they’re good at and where they feel like they suck: I’m good at dialogue and super sucky at description…) 

So what I’m going to do is include some various reading lists. I don’t think I’ll have a chance to read any of them by next week, but I think we could all get started on a new book. Pick one from a genre that is totally opposite what you typically read/write. See what makes it awesome and what you can learn from it.

Check out these lists:

  1. 100 Essential Reads for a Lifelong Learner 
  2. The Top 10 Banned Books of All Time
  3. College Bound Reading List
  4. 53 Books Every College Student Should Read
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