A book club is a great way to explore new books and meet other readers. But aside from the camaraderie and common interests, book clubs offer writers unique opportunities and advantages (and we don’t mean by hawking your own book!). The experts at Writer’s Relief have some surprising insights into how writers can benefit from joining book clubs.
6 Ways Writers Benefit From Joining Book Clubs
It’s been said time and time again—one of the best ways to become a better writer is to be a good reader. Reading introduces you to new genres and styles and helps you build your own writing skills. However, sometimes it can be difficult to find the time or motivation to read.
That’s where belonging to a book club can help! Having a time limit and a monthly scheduled meeting can be the nudge you need to sit down and read a book instead of vacuuming, doing laundry, or mowing the lawn.
Gain Insights Into How Readers Think
While you shouldn’t write by committee, knowing what readers notice in a story is invaluable knowledge! Maybe your book club members find a particular trope tiresome or really enjoyed a plot twist or the personality of a certain character. By listening to the other readers, you’ll know what might resonate with your own audience. You’ll also learn about ideas that you can give a fresh, new approach.
Improve Your Writing
Being in a book club is a great way to improve your own writing! By reading more often and more broadly, you will expand your vocabulary and familiarize yourself with other writing techniques. This can help bring your prose to life and offer you more ways to tell your story. And the book club discussions may inspire new ideas and connections you hadn’t previously considered for your own work.
You’ll also discover what you don’t like about particular writing styles. While another writer might work brilliantly with short, punchy sentences, you may decide this technique isn’t for you and your work. Or, if an author’s long, detailed descriptions leave you yearning for the action to start, you might realize you want to spend less time on imagery in your own writing.
Bust Through Writer’s Block More Quickly
If you’ve been staring at a blank screen or page for hours, it might be time to step away. Nonwriting activities can actually help boost your creativity! A book club is an excellent way to enjoy some stress relief while still participating in the writing world. Discuss books with other readers, and when you’re finished, you may discover you have plenty of new ideas to help overcome your writer’s block.
Broaden Your Horizons
Whether it’s exploring a new genre, discovering fresh perspectives, or “visiting” places you’ve never been, reading with a book club can be a great way to broaden your horizons.
Perhaps you prefer the horror genre, but your book club chooses to read a romance. Delving into the tropes and style of a romance novel might inspire you to use the genre’s techniques for describing heightened emotions in your own story (or you might even try your hand at writing your own romance novel!).
If you’re reading nonfiction or a novel set in a location you’ve never been to, the descriptions can help you add depth to the setting in your novel. While writing what you know is commonly suggested, there are times when you might want to write for a global audience and need to remember that your experiences aren’t universal.
Build A Community
You’ve seen the acknowledgments section of your favorite book: Writers thrive in a community. Building a support system with the members of your book club is one of the best ways to keep moving forward even during the most difficult parts of writing. You may even find other writers among your book club participants!
Now that you know how belonging to a book club can benefit writers, it’s time to join one. Many communities will have ongoing book clubs hosted by libraries or bookstores. If you can’t find one in your community, check for online book clubs. You could even start a book club yourself!
And when you’ve written something wonderful inspired by your book club experience, it’s time for the next chapter: submitting your work for publication! The research experts at Writer’s Relief can help you pinpoint the best markets for your writing and boost your odds of getting published. Learn more and submit your writing sample to our Review Board today!
Question: How might your writing benefit from your participating in a book club?