Goodreads: A Tool for Becoming a Better Writer

I have reconnected with a web site called Goodreads recently. It is dedicated to helping you keep track of your reading and finding new things to read and discuss with other members of the site. I had set up an account a while back and gone through the motions of identifying some of the genres that I liked to read, some of the books that I wanted to read, rating books that I had already read, and even reviewing some of them.

What occurred to me was that it was important for me to keep better track of when I started reading books, when I finished them, and to set goals for myself. So, I went back to Goodreads and took up a challenge to read 24 books in 2019. I will probably read more than that. I will adjust my goal if it becomes obvious that I have set it too low. The important thing is to get a clear idea of how much and what I’m reading.

I have learned an important thing working with engineers over the past thirty years or so. The first thing they do when they start a project is they set up goals and metrics. This helps them to understand the rate at which they are getting things done. I don’t know why it has taken me this long to start applying this principle to things I want to accomplish in my own life.

It is important for a writer to read at least as much as they write, if not more. After all, that is how one learns to recognize good writing so that one can emulate it. Keeping track of how much one reads, and for that matter, how much one writes, becomes a useful tool in evaluating ones progress as a writer.

Aside from the strictly quantitative aspect of the site, there are a number of forums that encourage one to discuss the books that they have read. This too is an important aspect of growing as a writer. I took the time to search out some of the people that I new and connect with them on the site. This allows me to see what they are reading and to strike up conversations about books that we’ve both read.

It is refreshing to find a web site that exists primarily to enrich the lives of its patrons. I’m sure they make a reasonable profit from advertising but that is how such places ensure their ability to continue to serve their community. If you’re an aspiring writer or just enjoy discussing books and discovering new things to read, check it out.