I read a lot of writerly advice. (I’m currently savoring You’ve Got a Book in You, which I am about halfway through.)
One I struggle with is READ WIDELY, EVEN OUTSIDE YOUR GENRE.
May I be frank? Oftentimes, something pushes me out of the story and makes me think, “Why am I reading this when I could spend the time writing?” Or, more specifically, “Why am I reading THIS CRAPOLA instead of writing something less awful?”
I think it’s because I’ve gotten in the habit of reading for the sake of writing.
Ray Bradbury once described how, as a kid, he asked the family doctor about weird lumps in his wrist; his doctors congratulated him on discovering his own bones. I can often see the “bones” of the story poking through its skin, and it puts me off. Even worse, so many writers slavishly follow the Joseph Campbell structure, I feel a sense of deja vu even with books I know I haven’t read before.