I was already an avid reader, with a passion for old books, and a published freelance writer when I started critiquing manuscripts and reviewing books years ago. My love for reading and listening to other people’s stories is actually what inspired me to write at a young age, so I knew that reading and writing went hand in hand. What I didn’t know, though, is all the different ways that reading and reviewing books would affect my writing for the better. The thing is that although everyone thinks that all writers read a lot of books that is a far cry from the truth. In dealing with so many authors over the last few years, I have come to realize that is just a myth. Actually, to my surprise many authors get so busy with the writing, publishing and promoting of their work, that they stop reading other books entirely!
I will be forever grateful to have stumbled upon Readers Views as it has not only kept me tuned in to what other writers are doing and reading (which was my first passion), but most importantly it has actually improved my writing tremendously! In fact, it has improved so much so that my critique group noticed immediately as soon as I began reviewing books. The fact is that when I am reviewing I have to read and pay attention, then analyze what I read, and create a review, and this has proven to be a valuable exercise. Here are some ways that becoming book reviewer can help the writer improve their craft:
- Vocabulary! It doesn’t matter how good your writing is, without reading your vocabulary will always be limited. By reading all kinds of books our brain not only discovers new words, it actually learns to apply them to be used in the appropriate and relevant context when writing. The more you read, the more diverse and genuine your dialogues, narration and description will sound. New words mix with your regular ones as you improve your vocabulary, creating a unique and genuine voice within the improvement of your craft.
- Find a voice! I have to be honest, finding and accepting my own voice was the hardest thing for me when it came to writing non-fiction, and reading other people’s poems, essays and articles encouraged me to uncover myself and be vulnerable enough to be able to express what I wanted to say. It never occurred to me that I needed a voice when it came to non-fiction until I tried writing my book. Reading other stories from the 1940s was a way to research the voice of each character as my story took place in that era. Reading narrative memoirs helped me find the narrators voice as well as my father’s recordings. Without reading, my story would have never come to life within my own mind or on the pages as I wrote.
- Practice Grammar! This is where reading and reviewing other people’s books helped me the most. English is my third language. I learned it when I was in the first grade in an American school while growing up in Venezuela. So when I speak or write in English my accent and grammar horrors don’t become evident in my mind. No matter how many times I re-read my own writing, my brain automatically ignores my errors. However, I found that when I read other people’s writings, I find their errors quickly! I don’t understand why, but I am testament that by reading and reviewing other people’s writings consistently, I have been training my brain to look for my own errors, which has lead me to cleaner first drafts!
There are many known advantages to becoming a reviewer, including free books, for those who love reading, and practicing writing, as well as getting your name out there. Like me, each person will find many hidden advantages as well. These were just some of the hidden ones that I discovered as a writer. If you are curious about what is entailed in reviewing books click the link below and look at our guidelines! Who knows, maybe you will sign up with us and give it a try?