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What do you read (if anything) while writing?

Stephen King said “If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have the time (or the tools) to write. Simple as that.”

I’m currently working on a sci fi novel. I write mainly from 5-8am, some lunchtimes, and sometimes after dinner. But after 8 or so, I want to read a little to unwind.

But I’ve found that if I read another sci fi novel, my writing unintentionally starts to mimic the author’s style. (It seems to happen less in sci fi short stories though.)

Then I learn from the book Process: The Writing Lives of Great Authors that Toni Morrison reads detective novels while she’s working on a novel. I tried a bit of that last night. The subject matter, location and style seemed different enough to keep me from unintentionally mimicking it.

How about you? Do you read when you write? If so, any specific genre? Or just anything?


I’m sad to say that I’ve been struggling really hard to read this year! I can’t seem to get into anything. I have about a billion books on my to read shelf (yes, it’s a shelf, not a pile, it’s packed two deep and has books stacked on top. Plus it’s a really long shelf) but none of them tickle my fancy. Which is sad because they’re all the kinds of books usually enjoy reading - SciFi, Fantasy and… Well, that’s largely what I read.

I don’t base my reading around what I write, just on what I like. I have Aurora Rising sitting on top of my shelf, and it’s supposed to be fantastic, so maybe I’ll give that a try to get back into the swing of things.


Same here, I take something from my bookshelf of unread books. At the moment, it’s a comedic play by Victor Hugo.
I wanna write like SK, but it alwys turns out funny … guess, I can’t scare myself, when it becomes too scary, something funny happens. :clown_face:


Been Delving into the Terry Goodkind novels. I also find audiobook helpful to keep reading as much as possible.

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I browse the best-seller Amazon charts in my genre and find something that I think I’d enjoy. Most of the time, I’m not disappointed. I do tend to dissect the story for what made me enjoy it - and study it for story structure, style, etc. If I read while I’m writing something, I don’t usually mimic, even when I try. And if I do, it always gets edited to my style and voice in the end. I can’t seem to help that. But reading definitely inspires and motivates me… I keep telling myself, I can write a story like this… heck, maybe even a better story than this. Why not? :wink:


I personally love to read, when writing or not. I mostly stick to Fantasy and Sci fi. By constantly filling my mind with things relevant to those, I find it easier to write things for that genre. Reading books similar to the genre you’re writing about can help tremendously in terms of creating worlds, characters, and antagonists by seeing ideas that other people have had than editing those ideas until you have what you want


LOL, I always have about 5 different books I am reading in chaotic order while I write. It fits who I am I guess. The king of entropy…


I read whatever comes to hand. Sometimes its an old friend, so to speak (Like the Last Herald-Mage trilogy, but Mercedes Lackey) sometimes it’s something new - I get books from Amazon First pretty regularly from my kindle app since I’m a Prime member. I also have a library card (and with it comes access to Hoopla which lets me check out digital books whenever I want).

What I actually read isn’t usually effected too much by what I’m actively writing. Sometimes I’ll read something in particular if I’m trying to remember something about a series (as some of my personal writing is fanfiction) but usually the reading is my down time from my writing. It puts my brain in a different mode, and it offers fuel, if you will.