As a publisher and as a writer, I’m often surprised that I hear authors say they don’t read very much because they’re too busy writing. I have to ask the question, “Do you trust a doctor that doesn’t continue their education?”
Practicing writing styles and reading other books helps the author to expand their skills. We’re inspired every day by things we expose ourselves to. It would seem only logical that you would surround yourself with the works of authors that you respect but also seek new works and authors.
The indie publishing age is upon us. No longer are we limited to what one big house publisher thinks we might like. We now have the power to tell them what we are interested in.
One of my favorite things to do is learn about other cultures. Many times, listening to someone talk about their family or tales from their culture will inspire something that I write. I also gain inspiration from reading other authors and seeing how they portray their characters or their scenes. I love seeing how another author constructs their stories, laying them out for the reader to discover the plot.
The art of storytelling relies on the author’s imagination and passion. If the only passion you have is for your own work, it seems rather narcissistic but it also seems rather naïve. Break rules and be a trend-setter but remember there are others who readers will flock to for good reason.
Challenge yourself to be well-versed. Read something outside of your normal genre. Read more in your genre from the past and also current works. It’s similar to studying music. Everything you hear is derived from the masters of the past and the unique sounds inspired from it of today.
I always advise authors to join active writing guilds who challenge them to push past their comfort zones and push their writing limitations. I also practice what I preach and do the same. I can say from personal experience it has only enhanced my craft.
Weigh in! Who inspires you to be a better writer?