"If you don't have the time to read, you don't have the time (or the tools) to write." Stephen King
When I was growing up I read all the time. During the hour ride on the school bus to school, when I should have been doing math and all the other stuff, again on the bus ride home, at night under the covers with a flashlight when I should have been sleeping and any other time I could sneak in a few minutes.
One of my favorite things about going to my grand mother's house as a teen was she had a huge amount of paperback books and didn't restrict my reading. In fact, I read things I probably shouldn't have, and that I'd not want my kids reading at the same age. But the great thing was we'd both get a book, settle in bed and read until at least midnight or so, have a midnight snack and then read some more. I read horror, fantasy, gothic, romance, thrillers, mysteries,westerns and even some erotica.
Not only was I exposed to many different genres, I was exposed to both good and bad writing. And because of that, (I think) good writing is easier to spot. It's not easier to do...unfortunately.
Saturday I had the chance to spend a couple hours at Books a Million. I studied some books in the genre I'm writing to see how my writing compares along with finding a new author I like.
Another benefit of being well read, especially in the genre you are writing is that you become aware of the things to avoid.
So...even though we're about to start writing like mad, take time to read a good book. Not only will you learn something, you might come up with an idea or two and besides, it's a great way to relax.
I'll be reading Green by Ted Dekker. I've promised to review it for the publisher. How cool!!!