Sunday, March 07, 2021

The Value of Reading Plus Action

By Terry Whalin @terrywhalin

Writers are readers and reading is a wonderful way to get ideas and find opportunities for your writing. Years ago I read about Disney Dollars in my local newspaper.  Since my childhood, I've been interested in coins and at that time I subscribed to a publication called The Numismatist. The Numismatist is the monthly publication of the American Numismatic Association I crafted a short query letter pitch to the editor and got an assignment to write an article about Disney Dollars. With my magazine assignment in hand, I approached the media office at Disneyland and scheduled an interview with a vice-president on the backlot of Disneyland. As you can see from this story, I turned reading a short newspaper article into a published magazine article. I did more than read the article. I used the article as a springboard to approach a magazine, get an assignment, then publish a magazine article. The process began with reading my local newspaper.
I found my idea through regular reading of my newspaper. Your ideas may come from an experience or reading a magazine or a book. I encourage you to read broadly—different genres and types of books and blogs and publications. You never know where the idea will come so be open. While reading is the foundation, it takes more than reading. You have to take action on what you have read.
While I've been blogging regularly since 2008, it's only in the last few years that I've included a ClickToTweet link toward the bottom of each entry. On a regular basis, I read Edie Melson's The Write Conversation blog. Over four years ago, she wrote a detailed entry with a Screencast about ClickToTweet. I carefully read that article and applied it to my own blogging. I began using ClickToTweet. As I monitor my social media feeds, I've seen many others use my ClickToTweets as an easy tool to pass on my article to others. Reading was my path to learn about this tool but I did more than simply read it, I took action.
Almost daily, authors and publishers mail books that they want me to read and review. I receive more material than anyone could possibly read—even if they read all the time. My own time to read is limited and something I do for fun and to support other writers and good books. If I read a book, then I write a short book review which I post on Goodreads (where I've written over 700 reviews and have 5,000 friends) and Amazon (where I've written over 1,100 reviews). I also post about my review on social media and tell the author or publicist about my actions. For example, last week I read Dr. Scott James children's book, GOD CARES FOR ME, HELPING CHILDREN TRUST GOD WHEN THEY'RE SICK. Here's my post about it.

In other articles, I've written about using Hootsuite to post 12–14 times a day on various social media platforms. You may wonder if people read these posts. Recently I spoke at the
Faith Writers Writing Conference (virtual). One of the participants was in Nigeria—because he read one of my tweets about the upcoming event. This coming week, I'm speaking at the Carolina Christian Writers Conference (virtual). There is still time for you to come to this event so just follow the link or click on the image.
How are you applying your reading into your writing life? For example, you can read about list building and the importance for every author but it does you little good if you don't apply this information into your writing life and work.  Let me know how your reading brings value to your writing in the comments below.

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