During the writing process for Grace, I received several pieces of excellent advice. One of them was to, in the early editing stage, have a diverse group of friends and family read the manuscript. Their homework was to make notes on the parts they really liked and the parts they didn’t like so much. Afterward, we sat together and had a great conversation about the story and weeded through comments and suggestions as a group. It was an incredibly helpful step in the process!

I would suggest, if you are a writer and plan on implementing this idea, that you make sure you do a couple of read-through’s on your own first and correct as many typographical, grammar, and spelling errors as you can. Those can be distracting to your review group, and their job is not to copyedit, but rather to help you with content.

The other advice I received, which I found very helpful, was to read as many different genres of literature that I could get my hands on. What an excellent tool to expand not only your vocabulary and the scope of your writing, but also to find new ways to communicate your story.

So don’t frown on classic novels or even young-adult or teen novels. Dig into 4,000-page series or try the odd self-help or inspirational writing. I have a book of Robert Frost poems that sometimes just hits that mental spot after a long day.

Whatever you choose, there are countless adventures waiting for you on those book shelves (or Kindle lists.) Allow yourself to come into line with different methods of expression, and to consider viewpoints you may have avoided in the past.

Regardless of whether you are a writer, we all have a story to tell. Reading is one of the best ways of expanding your mind—and your heart—to consider a world you may not have yet glimpsed.


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