Become a better writer and change your life by reading books
We often read that to become a better writer that the way forward is through reading books. I agree with this wholeheartedly. Reading books is a wonderful way to learn something new or to see something with new eyes and a different perspective.
Reading books helps you to be both a better writer and a better human. I read both non-fiction and fiction for pleasure, learn about me and for research. Depending on what I am doing, my mind is tuned into that activity. I wouldn’t read for pleasure and suddenly stop to analyse the structure. I might read and then go back and do that.
Become a better writer by reading books
To become a better writer, I would argue that you need to read in another way. To get more for your writing you need to read with a writer’s eyes. One of the simplest ways is to keep a journal by the side of your bed or reading space and to make notes of things that catch your imagination.
These could be turns of phrases or something that makes you question your writing in another way. It might be structure, style, the ways that questions are placed, stories, case studies, voice, the way that it appeals to all learning styles, length of chapters, choice of words or a myriad of other things.
The point is you read and analyse to become a better writer.
Reading books for research
I suggest to my book clients that they read other books in their genre for research. In this way, they are looking for gaps in the subject matter and things that might be missing that they can take advantage of. Or perhaps find a different perspective on a similar subject.
Reading books also allows you to discover writing styles that you like or otherwise. Imagine buying a book that has 100’s or 1000’s of reviews and discovering that you cannot read it because of the way in which it has been written or the content.
Recently I was in the Guardian in a features about books. In it I talked about a book that I couldn’t throw away. I have a very old copy of Little Women, that as a young girl was dear to my heart, but every time I attempt to read it, I can’t. The writing style no longer suits me.
One of the tasks I give people on my programs and in my coaching is to read other books and making a list of likes and dislikes and then find out why. There is a lot to learn from why you hate something…
This works well for both non-fiction and fiction.
Naturally with fiction you are looking at character development, plot, backstory, pace, point of view, conflict, and tone of voice.
Become a better human by reading books
Look at your bookshelf, what books have you read that you gleaned the most from? Is it a book from childhood? Or something more recent?
This morning, I decided to take some time out (again) from reading non-fiction and indulge in some fiction. My Kindle is full of psychological thrillers, mainly because I buy these for my mum’s Kindle. I end up reading them by default.
I loved Girl on the train by Paula Hawkins. So imagine my delight at discovering that I had purchased Into the water for mum. It seemed quite prophetic that it opened with ‘We know that memories are not fixed or frozen…’, as I am about to start recording a course called Kick-start your memoir and I am running a journaling adventure called 101 days of being me.
I feel that this book will reel me in as a reader and somewhere there will be other messages for me to consider.
While reading my mums thrillers my mind is always racing to work out who did it and why. After a while, no matter how well these are written, they become uninspiring and I need a change.
When I am in a ‘I need to drift into nothingness’ mood, the only kind of books I want are chicklit.
So many pieces of chick lit (easy reads) have delivered great value to my personal growth.
Last summer I had a chick lit binge read. Each of the books I read caught me unawares in what I learned about life and me from them. I felt as if I had been taken on a journey with my protagonist where we both learned something that made us better people.
Without sharing the titles and giving the storylines away, this is in brief what I got from four of these books:-
Bucket list for your soul
This book had our protagonist acting out a bucket list that belonged to someone else. She overcame her fear and did all of the things on the list. It got me thinking about bucket lists and how they usually revolve around doing some fantastic journeys.
What called to me was what would my soul like to do? What inner work would I like to consider? What fears might I need to confront to be a better person and grow just a bit more? So I set about creating a bucket list for my soul rather than my human.
Being grateful for what you have
In this book what I learned was that we don’t realise what we have until it is too late. It was about not being aware of what is right in front of you and how you take so many things for granted. This made me stop and look at all of the wonderful things that I have. Big gratitude for what I have is what I walked away with. What 3 things are you grateful for?
Letting go of the material
The message here was letting go of material things, planning and working with your inner resources. This led me to look around at the material things that I had and did not need. I did yet another declutter giving away and selling things so that others could enjoy them.
Decluttering the physical creates space, but it also moves the energy within so that more opportunities can flow to you. This book also made me think about how I could be more resourceful with what I have – both material and my inner resources.
Seeing inner beauty
This made me think about relationships (men wise) and seeing the inner beauty of a person. The right person may not be who you think it is. We put labels on people and our desires, such as tall, has green eyes, intelligent, does this for a living, etc. All of which hides who they might be and what we should do is let their soul reveal themselves to us.
Seeing inner beauty is also about the inner beauty of everyone you meet. The outer shell is just that a shell. The depth of a human is what comes from within.
I wonder what Into the water will teach me? I will let you know.
There are so many stories inside each of us that could change someone else’s thinking and their lives. These stories will also change our lives as we write them.
Start with journaling
Start with journaling. 101 days has been created as a journaling adventure designed to get you started writing from your soul, finding your stories and choosing to learn and grow.
Write a book, share your story and change lives
Even though the books described above are all fictional, I am sure that they each have an element of the writer’s life or of someone’s l
Your non-fiction book will do the same. Your reader will discover you through your story, where you were, the stuff that happened before you woke up, your awakening and the actions that you took to become who you are today. They will understand the journey and the outcomes. Which means that if they so choose they too can be inspired by your story and embark on their adventure.
Write a book and take your reader on that journey and unlike fiction, you will be able to give them tools and resources to support them to change and grow.
When you want to write a book and need some support
- Please message me – a chat costs nothing, and we can check out if we are a good working fit
- Perhaps you’d like to work in a group, then get on the waiting list for The BIG Book Project
- You can grab a copy of my book Plan your non-fiction book in a weekend on Amazon