It is often said that writers should read more to improve their writing. If I only have limited time to read, should I stick to reading only the genre that I am focused on writing or will devoting a percentage of time to other genres be just as beneficial?
My personal opinion would be no, that you should read broadly. At least, I certainly feel like reading outside my genre has helped me.
My favorite way to find stuff to read is by skimming writing books for examples I find interesting. Like if I’m struggling with stakes, I’ll go to the stakes chapter of my favorite writing book and see what novels are used as examples. That way, even if it’s outside my genre, I know it will still be relevant to what I’m working on.
Fun story, in 2020 that’s how I discovered what is now one of my favorite books of all time! Someone on the Writing Excuses podcast used All the Pretty Horses by Cormac McCarthy as an example of using style to set mood. It’s a Western, which is a genre I never even considered picking up of my own accord, but it immediately became a huge influence on my writing. I was hooked by page 6.