Do singers listen to music? Do actors go to the theatre? Yes, of course, they do! They enjoy the arts that they practice because they love them.
Now, I suppose there are some who say, “I don’t love it, I just want to sell lots of books so I can quit my 9 to 5 job and get rich.” If this is you, this blog/advice is not for you.
So, if you are an author or an aspiring author, you must read. I am primarily a science fiction writer, although, I have been branching out lately. When I first started writing I read the successful authors that were similar to me in the specific type of science fiction I was writing. In my case it was space opera/military science fiction… books full of spaceships, aliens, navy seals, ex-military, technology, strange planets… you get the idea.
To name a few, I read BV Larson, Craig Alanson, and Andy Weir. From BV Larson and Craig Alanson, I learned how important humor was. Now, I have a different sense of humor… it comes from my personal point of view, which I inject into my characters. Andy Weir is a little bit more straight ahead, with a finer point on technology. You can tell Weir does a lot of research, or, more likely, he has a paid researcher he works with on a regular basis.
I am upping my game on technology. For the most part, my books are meant for fun with non-stop action, while focusing on interesting characters and the relationships they develop. But the more successful you get, the more you can seek out the expertise of a researcher. I began developing an interest in integrating more technology after I read the sequel the Martian (I read that first), Hail Mary by Andy Weir.
Start reading where your interests lie currently. If you’re like me, your tastes will develop over time. My suggestion to you is to follow your gut. When I first started, when I wasn’t writing, I was reading. When I finally fell asleep (always have had trouble sleeping), I would dream, and when I woke up (sometimes in the middle of the night), I would write down things that came to me in my sleep.
When you write and read, hour after hour, a swirl of ideas occupies, not just your mind, but your being. So, you may dream more (day and night dreams). Pay attention to what comes to you, one of those dreams might be the foundation for a best seller.
The aim is not to copy ideas (although some lazy authors do this), but to immerse yourself in the work so that ideas just come to you. And, yes, you will get writer’s block… nothing amazing (like a successful writing career) ever comes too easy. As I mentioned in my previous post, I get a flood of ideas when I’m in water… a hot tub, bathtub, etc… But the water is helped by the fact that I read.
I picked up the new Stephen King book recently, Billie Summers. Now, I don’t write horror, but sometimes I get bored, and if I scroll the best sellers list and a book has an interesting cover and good reviews, I’ll buy it.
That goes against my advice, right? Technically, yes. But, let’s face it, sometimes you just want to read a good book. And, by the way, Billie Summers was a great book. It was not King’s typical horror story, but a straight-ahead thriller. Hmmm, sounds like even Stephen King gets bored.
But this post is for ‘beginner authors’ so ‘in the beginning’ I would suggest…. Well, you know, what I just laid out in this post.