Building Muscle

I’m reading. A lot. I’ve always been a big reader. I just didn’t know how much so until I started the Empty Shelf challenge.

Charms for the Easy Life by Kaye Gibbons
Charms for the Easy Life by Kaye Gibbons
luis urrea
The Devil’s Highway: A True Story by Luis Alberto Urrea
wendy miller
The Disappearing Key: A Novella by Wendy Paine Miller

I’ve decided that this is the year of reading what I want. Not what I feel obligated to. So far, so good. And, honestly, each of the 8 have stretched me, informed me, challenged and convicted me.

I’m reading a lot because I have to. It’s a VERY important part of being a writer of any kind. You must read. Lots. And a variety. And not just fluff. I assure you, my list has been anything but fluff.

See. For a writer, reading is like spending time at the gym. Putting on the spandex. Getting your sweat on. Pumping the iron. Feeling the burn.

If writers don’t read, our craft becomes flabby. Nobody wants flabby prose. Chubby poetry. Muffin-top essays. No. Body. Wants. That.

By reading these books, I’m stepping into shoes which aren’t mine. Looking through different eyes. Hearing, feeling, tasting, smelling the world in fresh ways. I’m honing my abilities to build conflict and tension. Exploring more about life so that I can more accurately create characters who will be believable and loved.

I’m beefing up my writing muscles.

So, grab a good book. Make yourself a steamy cup of tea or mud or cocoa. Pull the snuggie on and enjoy a book.

Work it out, baby.

Tell me. Why do you read? What’s next on your to-read list? I’m about to start For Whom The Bell Tolls by Big Papa Hemingway. 

16 Comments on “Building Muscle

  1. Put Secret Keeper by Kate Morton on your shelf – it was AWESOME!!! My next book is Monument Men – I want to read it before I see it in the movies. Have you read Gone Girl? Because that was another good one! Happy reading! I love to read!! But I don’t write – so I guess it doesn’t count as gym work for me………:-)


  2. First, Kate Morton is very good. Second I’m reading this book called Atopia. Super weird and creepy and scifi. I’m not sure if it’s good yet. I picked it because the amazon paper weight always has an advertisement on your screen when it’s off and after seeing it like a million times I decided to read it… well played amazon, well played…


  3. Susie, good job on your reading workout so far this year. Can’t wait to see what else you’re reading. I have quite a stack waiting for me. What I’m reading right now is “Breaking Free” by Beth Moore. Great stuff! My problem is I’m reading it pretty quickly and I can sense the Holy Spirit saying, “Slow down and work through some of this…don’t just read it.” I agree with you about how reading makes you a better writer. I’m finally working on a novel and I find myself reading fiction in a whole new way – I’m analyzing what works and what doesn’t, what I like and what I don’t like. Hopefully it makes my “someday” novel a very good one if I apply what I learn. ~Robyn


    • Yes! Robyn, I agree. Some books need to be processed at a different rate. I had to read Sensible Shoes by Sharon Garlough Brown in much the same way. One small nugget at a time. I didn’t want to miss anything that might be transformative.

      Keep reading! Keep writing! I look forward to adding a Robyn Mulder book to my shelf some day.


      • Ooooh, Sensible Shoes! I read that 3 times in less than a year – the Holy Spirit works even through novels, that’s for sure.

        Thanks for the encouragement…praying for you as you read and write this year. ~Robyn


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