Study booksReading is crucially important — for kids, for adults, for writers. In my second-Friday-of-each-month series this year, I’m going to talk about the importance of reading for writers.

Most of us are used to reading for pleasure, and that’s important. We’re also used to reading to get information, such as when we read the paper, or research something online.

Reading to help hone our writing skills takes a different mind-set. We’re reading to try to analyze and understand how and perhaps why the writer of the book we are reading achieved the effect he or she did.

It’s slower, more thoughtful, more considered reading than is reading for pleasure. And it can help us enormously, if we develop the skills needed to do it effectively.

In the next several months, I’ll be posting about the skills, the tools, the process of reading to hone our craft. I’ll give lists of questions to ask yourself as you read. I’ll look at how we figure out what would be best to read, with all the books that are out there.

On the fourth Friday of each month, I’ll be recommending a writing craft book that will help you hone your skills further.

Here’s to a year of learning through reading.

For today, though, find a book you love or that inspires you and steep yourself in it over the weekend. We all need times when we let books speak to whatever we are feeling. Then imagine your book being someone’s go-to book, whether that is for comfort, or joy, or inspiration, or strength.

That is one of the joys of being a writer — of being able to offer that to a reader. That is something we all yearn for, and work toward, as writers. May we all someday know the joy of touching a reader’s heart in the way that person needed at that time.

Beth in script for blog