>I’m late again. I get so immersed in my projects that I miss my blog deadlines, but I don’t miss the ones I get paid for. Need I say that if you promise to turn in your work by a particular day and time, you should do it unless you’re dying? Get a reputation for missing deadlines without warning the editor, and your career is toast.
But that’s not what I’m writing about today. I was thinking about reading. One of the things I ask students the first time we meet is, “What do you read?” I’m no longer surprised when most of them read only genre fiction–mysteries, suspense, romance, fantasy, etc–and a few admit they don’t read much of anything. This is not good.
If you want to be a writer, you must read the kinds of things you want to write. Reading good writing helps embed the rhythm and rules of good language in your brain, no matter what you read.
It’s fine to read novels. I gulp them down like candy. But if you want to write for newspapers, you’ve got to read newspapers. I don’t care if you read them on paper or on Kindle, but you’ve got to read them. Ditto for magazines. It’s the only way to know what’s getting published and get a feel for how you can make your work fit in.
Editors always complain about getting submissions that are totally inappropriate. One way to avoid this is to read the publication before you submit, then tailor your ideas to the market. Plus, if you read enough, you’ll know if your idea has already been used. And, you’ll be a much better informed person.
So, what do you read? What do you want to write?
Have you purchased your copy of Freelancing for Newspapers yet?