This week on the Open Book Blog Hop we’re discussing how a hobby makes us better writers.

I must admit that with all the writing and marketing I do, there is precious little time for hobbies.  However, there is one hobby which has stayed with me since I was a small child – and that is reading.

I found that after writing my first two books in 2013, it occurred to me to look at the way my traditionally published reading books had been laid out.  Oh dear, I realised I was writing in a block style and with few paragraphs, totally different to the books I was actually reading.  This was brought home to me when the reviews started coming in for ‘The Porn Detective’, my debut novel.  When I won a free edit, I sent off the unfinished manuscript for ‘The Pilates Class’, my second novel.  When it came back it was changed to the same layout I had noticed in traditionally published books.  The editor had also made helpful notes where I had used unnecessary adjectives, bad layout of dialogue, and marked where I had used the same words twice.

I started reviewing books by other self-published authors, and unfortunately found out that now I’m not able to read any book, self-published or traditionally published, without checking the layout of the page, whether the author has repeated words, and whether there is an over-use of flowery adjectives or bad spelling and grammar.  In fact since my new found knowledge, to be honest reading is not the pleasure it once was.  At one time I would read just for the pleasure of immersing myself in the story.  Now I’ve got one eye on the story and one eye on the spelling, punctuation, grammar, and layout etc.

Do other writers find themselves doing this?  However, it occurs to me that if I hadn’t been an avid reader in the first place, then maybe I would never have learned how to present my own books in a better light. Hey ho, it’s all a learning curve.

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