Shini writes: Is it a good idea to read your favored genre voraciously? I am concerned that would lead to either loosing your natural voice or otherwise having it butchered in favor of an amalgam of what has recently been read.
As a beginning writer, is it a good idea to read? Yes. You need to read good fiction to understand how it works. When I started writing I would read a novel once for pleasure, and then go back and dissected it to figure out exactly how the author did what they did.
Did my voice suffer? To be brutally honest I didn’t have a “voice” when I started. Most beginning writers don’t. Professional editors tell me that it usually takes a writer several hundred thousand words before they establish a decent voice.
There was a point where I had to be careful to read only well-written fiction, because I would absorb a particular author’s style of writing. The benefits of learning from established authors, however, far outweighed any compromising of my fledgling voice.
Note: an author’s voice will change over the course of time. It’s nothing to worry about. It’s a natural evolution for the better. Embrace it. Grow. Change. Enjoy.