Okay, okay, but that is how I felt when I sat down last night to consider what I might write about. V has been one of those toughies. I had a list of words, but didn't feel any of them.
Anyway, without further ado...
V is for...
To be a writer, it is commonly believed that you must also be a reader. Otherwise, how do you know what people want to read? We learn, in all facets of life, by observing others and then practicing. This is one reason why the ubiquitous "they" recommend reading in your own genre while writing. You can observe what it is you particularly like or don't like in your chosen genre. (An aside: I am about ready to add "genre" to the list of profane words, along with query, platform and synopsis. It will then be referred to as the "G" word).
I've spent a lot of time in the last year reading YA Fantasy. I discovered new genres I hadn't yet known about, such as Dystopian Fantasy, thanks to these books. I had skipped YA fiction when I was younger, jumping to adult horror, fantasy and a sprinkling of romance and sci-fi. Looking at all the selection now, I figure I missed out on quite a lot of good books, so I'm enjoying going back and reading them now.
I devoured books then and I still do now. A lot of parents say they don't have time to read, and that was true for a little while, but then I began to carry a book around with me everywhere I went, tucking them in diaper bags and car door pockets. Eventually, I made a point of going to bed at a reasonable enough time that I could read, though that still made for many late nights when I couldn't put a book down. Insomnia helps with that problem, too, though. I found that reading a book before bed could help me unspool my mind enough to be able to sleep without too many thoughts running through my head. Well, some nights.
I haven't exclusively read YA this year, of course. I'm still reading my usual series and trying to experience new authors and new series. As long as I'm reading, I'm happy. Plus, I'm learning. Two other "V" words one can pick up from reading are Voice and Vocabulary. I once knew someone who carried a spiral notebook around with her if she was reading anything, including textbooks. She would write any word she didn't know in the notebook and look it up later, writing the definition next to the word. She wasn't into writing or anything; she just liked learning new words. I'm not saying you should carry around a notebook and a dictionary, but mentally file a word you enjoy for later use. It doesn't have to just be single words, either. You can pick up descriptive phrases and various terms you may not have heard of before.
I sort of jumped all over with this, but the point of it is to read if you want to write. Read as much as you can. Read in your genre, but don't be afraid to explore others, as well. Read with a writer's eye, and pay attention to how they do things you particularly like. Is this writer very good at dialogue? Why? What are they doing differently? Perhaps this writer describes characters or settings so brilliantly that you can instantly picture them, smell the flowers, feel the breeze. Figure out how and learn from it.
But be sure to enjoy your reading along the way, as well.
What about you, what do you read? Is it always in the same genre, or do you branch out? Do you read in the same genre you write in?