Today's Tip for Tuesday shouldn't be a hardship.
READ. READ. READ.
How does reading help your writing?
1. Reading keeps you abreast of what's going on in the industry. You'll read what's hot. What's been done. What's been done to death.
2. Reading helps you identify your own likes and dislikes as well as helping you identify what it is you write and how it fits in that genre.
3. Reading improves your vocabulary and shows you new ways to say things. Each writer has his own lexicon and voice which he draws on and you can learn from. If you only ever read your own work in progress, you'll get stale and be limited to the things you already know.
4. Reading allows you to take an objective look at a story and dissect it. Identify what works and what doesn't. What REALLY works and what REALLY doesn't. It's so hard with your own story, which you are deeply invested in, to be objective. But someone else's work? Especially a stranger? Hack away at it, pull it apart, line up the shiny bits to study and the not so shiny bits to really study.
5. It's fun!!!! Read outside your favorite genres and in. Treat yourself to something new. Read the best in the industry, read the classics, read for fun and for information.
So, what are you reading right now? I just finished Ends of the Earth by Tim Downs and So Over It by Stephanie Morrill. Both excellent, BTW.
I'm starting Chasing Lilacs by Carla Stewart followed by Exposure by Brandilyn Collins.
Addendum: Since posting this on Sunday night, I finished Chasing Lilacs (A VERY VERY good book! Go get it) and have started Exposure.