Sometimes when you’re working on a story, your mind is overflowed with it. You need a break and relax a little. For most writers, reading is a relaxing activity, but it can work against you. The stories can blend in your mind and that might be a problem if you’re a pantser. If you already have an outline, it’ll keep you on track and keep the influence to a minimum. I think this is a topic that every writer experiences differently. Share your stories in the comments below!
What I don’t read while I’m writing
What you’re reading can influence your work-in-progress. Reading something in the genre or a book with the same themes will do so even more. When I first started A Devil’s Deal, a friend asked me to beta read his story which shared themes with my WIP. I couldn’t continue anymore since I saw that his story influenced my WIP. I stopped writing and read his stories. Fanfiction had replaced my WIP and it was the perfect switch. I could still do what I loved and do my friend a favour.
I’m working on a paranormal romance right now, so I’ll stay away from those. I’ve read half a dozen of them earlier this year and I paid attention to how those authors told their story. There were things I liked and some things I didn’t like it. But I forgot about the details that could’ve influenced my story which would make it more like theirs. Subconscious plagiarism is a real thing.
It’s important to read books within the genre you’re writing to know what works and what doesn’t, what sells and what doesn’t. Reading is part of that research. But I don’t read in the same genre when I’m working on my first draft. This will be different for every writer. There’s no one way to do things.
What I do read while I’m writing
I tend to read non-fiction when I’m working on something. Either something for research or something completely different. I like inspirational stories, books about creativity and productivity and books by or on visionaries. These books also keep me working. They actively motivate me to keep writing and work towards my dream of a writing career.
Last November I spend time reading a lot of books about authorpreneurship, or how to turn writing into your career. It’s a great motivator to see where I’m going and what other people have achieved. Many authors, especially indie authors, are willing to share their story and advice. I always buy the NaNoWriMo bundle on storybundle.com, because I know the books they curate are highly motivating and relevant. I’ve read some of them multiple times, like Chuck Wendig’s 30 Days In The Word Mines. Chuck Wendig is someone who will kick your butt if you don’t write (and he uses strong language). I still have his Damn Fine Story on my wishlist and I will buy the paperback soon.
I prefer to have the books I study as a paperback since I learn better from paper than from a screen. And yes, I’ve tried both extensively. Just for that reason, I bought my own copy of On Writing by Stephen King. I’m not at that place yet where I’m comfortable with highlighting sections or scribbling in the margins, but I will. I like studying the craft of writing and analysing or studying a book is part of it.
What do you read while you’re working on your WIP? Do you read at all? What is your favourite kind of books to read during that period? Share it in the comments below!