On Reading

Harper’s Harpings – The Importance of Reading How to Write


I spend more time reading than I do writing, I’ve been writing for three decades plus interest but only started writing as a novelist eighteen months ago. I am a better writer now than when I first started to write my first novel.

Here is a run down of my daily routine, I get up two hours before I need to leave the house for my daily cycle to work. I read the news on my tablet, I read my emails, I read my reviews and then I write down ideas for stories. Once I am at work there is no telling if there will be any down time. Its rare that I have my lunch break (don’t feel bad its the industry I am in, take the down time when it arrives, it could be hours it could be minutes).

In the down time minutes, I scroll through the list I have set up on Twitter, I follow people and organisations who tweet about writerly help. I read every one, to pick up ideas, to get help and overall to improve my writing. For the advice that I really like I take a phone of the screen and save it for later to add to my writer’s tips word document I have for editing my first drafts. I read up on book marketing and sales trends. I subscribe to other authors blogs and newsletters to see what they are doing. All of it gets sorted away for another time when I might need it. I have an inbox full of links to pages that I will need to read up when I can concentrate on it.

Some of it goes over my head because I am still learning, but the simplier stuff like doing a find and search exercise on my draft to find all the ‘was’ entries and seeing if I could deconstruct and re build the sentence to make a better, richer sentence was for me an excellent exercise.

I have talked before about my lack of contractions, it is still difficult for me to write contractions, I have to go back through and change some to make the dialogue or paragraph flow better.

I must stress though for me, doing the research a month after I had started writing was a benefit. I think its important to find one’s own writing style and improve upon that rather than read all the rules and try to write to that style.

Back to my routine anyway, some days I can read an awful lot depending on work stresses and in the evening after dinner is consumed,  days have been talked about, I’ll settle down about 8.30pm or so and write for two solid hours. I try to incorporate what I have learned into what I am writing.

Then for half an hour or so later on I get to read my book, which ever genre I am in the mood for. Reading takes up roughly four hours of my day.

I have got an awful lot more to learn about this craft I love so much and in twenty years I will still have a lot to learn but hopefully as each year passes, I will become a better story teller.

Thanks for reading



Harper’s Motto: You will not be everybody’s favourite flavour, but that’s ok, because they will not always be your favourite flavour.   Be who you want to be and you will attract the people who will support you no matter what.



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