At the first writing conference I ever attended, I heard the most important writing tip. READ!
In order to find my place within my genre, I need to know who else is out there and what they are writing. There is a lot to learn by studying the work of other writers – how they handle descriptions, inner thoughts, love scenes, conflict, the final words on the final page, and so much more.
As I write my current WIP, a contemporary romance, I keep several books within that same genre on my desk. When I get stuck, I flip through one of the books and see what the author before me has done. Like how many pages should this kiss last? And what vocabulary is appropriate for this imprint line?
I heard at that first conference that if I didn’t have time to read, then I didn’t have time to be a writer. I make time for both, and I watch a whole lot less TV!