As a writer, you may or not be reading consistently. Some people claim to only like to ready between writing projects, others will read different genres than they’re writing, and some will continue to devour books like starving tyrannosaurus rexes.
No matter your preference, I’d like to propose a new habit: continually read the genre you want to publish in.
This doesn’t mean you can’t read other genres or types of literature, but you do need to be aware of trends, styles, and tropes within your chosen writing genre.
Should you take breaks from reading? No. You need to refill the well of words, ideas, thoughts, feelings, emotions, stories, etc. you extract your WIP from as you write. Reading can help replenish the words and joy of story within you as you write. So don’t take breaks, your creativity needs to be refueled constantly.
There are other benefits to reading in your preferred writing genre. It lays the beginnings of literary citizenship in your own work and helps you begin to network with other authors, agents, and editors. You have to read to keep up in the writing business. Non-readers are constantly left behind, despite their well intentions in writing consistently.
Even when your schedule gets busy, be sure to carve yourself a little reading time, just like you do your writing time. Ten to twenty minutes a day is much better than none at all.
Note: if you’re one of the few writers who struggle to write when they’re reading a book similar to their own, don’t stop reading. Choose to read in a different genre or sub-genre as needed. But don’t make the switch permanent: you must spend time reading in your genre to be aware of it.