Imagine you’ve decided to become a culinary chef. You have three options: a) step into the kitchen loaded with recipes learned from family and experience cooking but with no formal training b) enter the kitchen with culinary training but no real experience or c) make a grand entrance with culinary training, family recipes and experience under your belt. These are similar to the choices you make as a writer.
Having natural talent as a wordsmith is great. Earning a degree in English is helpful. But the combination of talent and study of writing is to be armed with the ultimate tools.
I know there are writers who refuse to read while they are actively writing. They worry that their work may be influenced by what they read. If this is also your concern, read a different genre. To not read on a regular basis is to limit your scope, shrink your world. Would you want to stumble in a dim room when a light switch can be flipped to illuminate the space? Why ignore publishing trends, fellow authors and fantastic works?
Chefs sample their contemporaries’ foods. The different flavors and textures inspire them to stretch, put a fresh spin on their own dishes. I encourage you to read! Dip into the classics, slide into the silky pond of poetry, tour the fantastic worlds of fantasy and pick up a book that grabs with the first paragraph. Open the pages of a book or click on a ebook. Let the rich texture of plot and characters expand your creative world.