Monday, January 20, 2014

A Little Extra Reading in 2014

By Stacy S. Jensen

Reading is one of the best craft exercises for writers. In addition to being entertained, I learn something every time I pick up a book.

Thanks to the size of most picture books, I can enjoy and study dozens of these each week. My only limitation is how many I put on hold at the library and how I coordinate those pickups with a curious toddler in tow.

I often forget about other genres and adult novels. To avoid missing these great works, I plan to improve my reading routines in 2014.

I also want to give back to authors, who offer an adventure or some reflection — quiet or riotous — when I open a book or turn on my Kindle. I want to add more #amreading hashtags to my Twitter feed. I want to relax more with books.

I have a series of 12 posts on ways readers can help authors and their own writing through reading. Most don’t involve money. Thanks to our wonderful public library system, I do most of my reading for the minimal taxes our family pays each year.

Here’s my first post:

You thought I was going to say read.


My first way to help authors and your own writing is to TRY: 
  • a new author.
  • a new genre.
  • a new format.

Reading time is precious, so it's normal to stick with an author you know. However, there are lots of wonderful debut authors each year just waiting for you to give their book a whirl.

There are even new genres to explore like New Adult (or just maybe one that you haven't touched in a while, like science fiction or memoir).

One way to try out a new book is to change up your reading format. Maybe you like the crack of opening a new hardcover book, but try reading in a digital format on a smartphone, tablet, e-reader, or even a computer desktop. This delivery method helps many self-published authors share their work with the world.

Getting out of your comfort zone may help with your current work-in-progress. I know it makes me think about my characters in different ways and gives me new ideas.

By trying books by new writers, you have little to lose. Well, sometimes you will find a rotten one, but its golden when you find a book that sings to you.

Are you willing to try new genres or new authors when reading?

(This post originally appeared on January 6 at

About the Author: Stacy S.Jensen worked as a newspaper reporter and editor for two decades. Today, she writes picture books and revises a memoir manuscript. She lives in Colorado Springs with her husband and toddler.

1 comment:

  1. Love this suggestion and the idea of your series. I have to remind myself to read some adult novels now and again. Just finished a great memoir called WILD.


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