Reading Logs for Writers

Aspiring authors are encouraged to “read like a writer.” As a Language Arts teacher, that was one of the concepts I was encouraged to instill in students. However, as a lover of reading, first, and as a teacher who wanted to promote a love of reading in her students, it is a concept I often resisted. When I read, I want to sit down and enjoy a book. It is my most beloved pastime, and I do not want to have to work in the little amount of time I have each day for leisure.

However, since starting my reading log, I have been inspired to use my logging process not just to celebrate my progress through the wonderful world of books, but to log like a writer. And so, I am expanding my logging process, not here in the blog, but in my writing office, to incorporate some of the practices of reading like a writer. My plan is this:

  • Read all acknowledgements, introductory material, and back matter.
  • Record the names of agents who represented any novels similar to mine.
  • Record the names of editors who have worked on novels similar to mine.
  • Update my publisher records with the title, author, and genre of the book.

I am presently in search of an agent to represent my two completed novels, and so making note of agents who have worked on similar projects can help me narrow down the pool of possibilities and submit to someone I know represents my type of writing.

Recording the names of editors and publishing houses will be useful in two ways:

  1. When I want to submit directly to those houses that will look at unsolicited material, I will have a name of someone interested in writing like mine.
  2. When I need to make a list of comparable titles for my queries, or cite a work an agent or editor worked on in crafting my query, I can have instant recall of authors and titles through my records.

As an added bonus, it makes me at least think about my reading like a writer after I have finished the book. As I make my various notations, I need to consider the strengths and weaknesses of the novel, pinpoint genre or genres, and determine if the book is truly of a caliber to which I would want my work compared.

So at last, I have graduated to the writing class! Through my logging I will practice reading like a writer, and my querying process will be supported by the foundation of targeted information I will build.

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