As you may have noticed, I love to write. I write a lot. I’m even writing a novel right now, and am thoroughly enjoying the journey of its creation. What joy it is to be able to construct your own world and your own storyline, to delve into the depths of your imagination and bring them to life through words and imagery. However, I don’t read as much as I should, and reading is essential if I want to create something of my own for others to read.
Thanks to Mr. Jason Brueckner, he’s granted me the discovery of Challies, the website of Tim Challies, an author, book reviewer, and blogger. I’ve always had more trouble reading than writing, due to a variety of contributing factors, such as my incredible ability to become distracted, my itching desire to start reading another book in the middle of the one that I’m reading at the time, and the feeling that I should always be reading something else, along with many other things. Reading Challies’s blog called “7 Different Ways to Read a Book” has given me a newfound eagerness to read more by giving me clarity on different approaches I can take to reading certain books.
The seven styles that he mentions are studying, pillaging, devotional reading, skimming, stretch reading, rerun reading, and failed reading. He defines each of these reading styles, shedding light to healthy reading habits and myths about reading that I know I’ve held onto for quite some time. However, the ones that I think are the most important for myself and for any of you out there who are interested in writing a book of any sort, are studying, failed reading, and rerun reading.
Tim Challies describes studying as the type of reading that should only be done with a few select books. Only some of them deserve it, and it’s the type of reading that involves taking notes, returning to earlier parts of the book, making connections and trying to get as much out of the read as possible. As I’m working on my novel, I realize that this is one of the most important types of reading I should be practicing, but I seek to study some books in a different way. I want to study the author’s writing style, the way that their storyline progresses, the tone used and which perspective he or she chooses to write from, how much information they share and when, etc. I need to see examples of these things if I want to successfully present a whole novel (and hopefully more) to the world. Studying books is essential to the process of creating your own book.
Challies explains that it is okay to not finish a book. You are not a failure of a reader because you’ve failed to finish a book! I’ve always thought that it was such a horrible thing not to get to the end, but I realize that sometimes, I’ve read just as much as I need to of that certain book when it comes to reading for my writing. Maybe I’ve seen all that I needed to see in order to learn how I want to go about establishing a certain part of my book! And that is perfectly fine. If you don’t wanna finish it, don’t!
I haven’t done this often, but Challies clarifies this kind as reading a book again that you once read and loved. I love that he includes this in his seven reading styles, because there’s a reason that you were obsessed with a certain book the first time. Go back to it and find what made it so special to you, and use the techniques that you find lured you in. That’s where the studying may come in, and I’m sure this will help you (and I) in directing you in your own writing endeavors.
You can read Challies’s blog and discover the specifics of the other four reading styles he discusses in his article at http://www.challies.com/articles/7-different-ways-to-read-a-book.