We all know that reading improves your writing, but did you know that you don’t have to just read the haughty stuff? Read everything! Yes, the good, the bad and the ugly, whatever it is, just read.
But, you say, won’t my writing be worse if I’m reading junk? No, writing is not like nutrition. If you eat candy bars and Cheetos everyday for lunch, your body will show it, but if you read poorly written material you’ll have a first hand experience with what doesn’t work.
When you see it written or hear bad writing in your head (or via audio), you’ll say to yourself, well, that doesn’t seem right. Something’s ‘off’ on this sentence, paragraph, character, plot device, dialogue, etc. As you critique someone else’s writing, and the more you do it, your own writing benefits.
But, you say, I don’t know what’s good and what’s junk. Well, read more, then. Read things you normally wouldn’t read. Read different genres. Read non-fiction and fiction alike. Always have a book or two (or ten!) going.
So, read good stuff, really great craft work, but don’t forget to read the junk, too. It helps you learn.