1. Understand What You Get From Different Genres.
If I am really into a piece of Fiction there is no way I would skip around the story, just reading the juicy bits I am interested in. In contrast to a nonfiction book, where I may hunt the few key chapters that I am interested. I think having this awareness in reading makes it much more enjoyable.
Getting stuck on a book, can hamper your developing reading skills so its important to remember what you are reading for. Are you trying enjoy a whole book, or are you trying get a specific answer to a specific issue? Even pleasure reading needs to be taken a bit more seriously if you are a writer. Don’t read only genre and writers you immediately enjoy. Go to the Classics and other challenging works and dig in and see what is so great about them. This type of reading serves so many worthwhile end, it deserves its own post really.
2.Use a Palate Cleanser
By palate cleanser I meant don’t read the whole Game of Thrones series in a year. Break up themes and genres. Comics and Graphic Novels are my favorite palate cleansers. Also be careful what you read. Books are powerful things and some stories are so dark and scary I think planning antidote books is crucial to your sanity. Oh and never keep a copy of The Amityville Horror by Jay Anson, anywhere in your house, way bad mojo.
3.Make Sure To Emphasize Your Genre
I like to read across all genres, I really do, but the genre I want to write in is Science-Fiction/Speculative Fiction, so i try to sort of always keep one leg in those waters. I think that’s important as a writer so that we can be fully tuned into our genre, especially our contemporaries. Also this should be a natural inclination too, as you should intuitively love the genre you plan to write in.
4.Read With a Writing Utensil and Journal.
I think a pencil in the hand is sort of like a swimmer floaty for readers. It tells the mind you are engaged in work and effort. Also it reminds you to pay attention to the interesting bits. The pen and journal combination is crucial too, as it allows you to speak back to the text and is a back up memory system. Also, quick notes allow you to refocus on the thing you are reading.
I find the exception to this be Fiction, but that may be a personal thing. Even then, reading with a pencil to mark great passages for later reflection would be very valuable. And just generally, the pencil can be used much like the blind man’s walking stick with books.
5.Read in a Room with No Electronic Distractions
This might be the most important tip of all. We are overwhelmed and distracted with our phones and tablets to get down to the serious work of reading and writing well. So set the phone down, run to the basement, and just sit with you current book and enjoy yourself! Build you brain muscles and do some active dedicated reading.