1. The Classics
They’ve survived for centuries for a reason. Even if they aren’t your favorite light reading (and there is absolutely nothing wrong with you if they aren’t, despite the apparent belief that all writers must devote their bookshelves only to authors who’ve been published for over a century or whose work is primarily existential) , they’re well worth the read.
2. Your Genre
If you’re well-versed in your chosen genre, you’ll soon get a pretty good idea of its cliches and common mistakes, as well as how to avoid them.
3. Your Old Work
I know it’s painful. Very, very painful. I ran across some of mine the other day and had to fight the urge to feed it down the garbage disposal. But, not only can you see how far you’ve come, you can pinpoint areas you may still struggle with. Who knows, you may even find something worth salvaging for a new piece.
4. Other Writers’ Work
Because it’s way easier to spot other people’s mistakes than it is your own. And the more practice you get at problem-spotting, the easier it’s going to be to spot your own mistakes, from plot holes to painful word choice to grammar accidents. There are various sites that cater to amateur authors (fanfiction.net, fictionpress.com, etc.) that work well for this sort of thing.
5.The Things that Set Your Soul on Fire
You know what I’m talking about. The stories that made you want to write your own in the first place. The ones that spark new ideas and make you think. That fire up your creative spirit when you think you’re too exhausted to write. Whatever you enjoy the most, that’s what you should be reading. So, go! Read!
What do you read to help yourself write? Let me know in the comments!