I don't know how often I've read a blog or article where one writer or another hands out this sage piece of advice:
Writers need to be readers, too.
Okay, I'm not quoting it exactly, but that's the basic idea of what they're saying. I'm also not arguing, because even an unpublished novelist such as I can see how this is good advice. How am I supposed to know the difference between phenomenal, has potential but needs some work, and never should have been written if I ignore everyone's writing besides my own? What does ignoring what's being written by others do besides rob me of a potentially huge source of inspiration to experiment, see what fits with my voice, and then make my own?
Beside being a firm believer in the idea that reading is just as important as writing for a writer, I also hold fast to the idea of reading outside of your chosen genre being equally as beneficial as reading within it. I don't know how many times I've done exactly that, fallen in love with the structure or some other element, and then experimented with it in my own writing. Sometimes the experiment works for me, sometimes it doesn't. When it doesn't, I set myself to the task of determining why it failed, and if it might work with some tweaks. If not, it goes in the file box to be practiced for future usage.
At the end, I'm a much stronger writer for having done it.
All of this to ask:
What are you reading/have you read lately that is outside your genre of writing? Has it motivated you to do anything new or different?