A tip I continually find by published authors concludes you must read in order to write. I say take it a bit further and be mindful to read books of quality.
Naturally, absorbing information from books about writing can help on the myriad elements of writing, but you should also be reading in the genre you write. Write science fiction? Read Ray Bradbury, Orson Scott Card, George Orwell, Arthur C. Clark, and many others.
Whatever genre, find the ‘great’ writers of that genre to read to see how its done. I’m not saying to emulate, but you glean the expectation and can learn from the best, rather than reading trash fiction that gets cranked out (and by trash I mean misspelling, poor characters, and gaping plot holes).
What books do you feel are ‘great’? Mine include;
George Orwell- 1984 – Sci fi
Frank Herbert- Dune – Sci fi
Joan D. Vinge- Catspaw- Sci fi
Margaret Mitchell- Gone with the Wind- Drama
William Golding- Lord of the Flies- Drama (and maybe horror?)
Philip K. Dick- Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep- Sci fi
For me, a great book stays with you long after you close the cover. It makes you think, says something of the human condition, and might provide insight inside of yourself.
What books do you feel are ‘great’?