Reading is interesting when you think about it. I mean, it's unique to everyone. Don't look at me like that. I know you're thinking that's the dumbest thing you ever heard because everyone reads the same way (except those languages that read from right to left and so-forth). Please, hear me out.
No two people can read the very same. We all read at different speeds, pay attention to different things, and the material we're reading affects us in different ways. It's in that regard that I think how one person reads is as unique as her fingerprints.
I'm a pretty moderate reader. I can read fast if I need to. I can skim through lines like they're nothing. But I don't enjoy that much. And, when I do that, I don't really get much out of what I'm reading. I like to take it at a decent pace. When something excites me in a novel, sure I'll speed up. But that matches my mood at the time. I'm not a slow reader unless it's for school and something I don't understand much about. *cough*World Systems Analysis*cough*
I remember at one point in eighth grade I was lab partners with literally the smartest boy in school. (My own version of TWILIGHT? Not even close, although I did have a crush on him.) He was nearly certifiably a genius. And I remember on the days that we were told to read something in class, he was fast. Crazy fast. He always finished a heck of a long time before anyone else in the class. So, I tried to read as fast as him. Now, part of this was because I wanted to read as fast as he could, and partly I didn't want to look dumb in front of him. That was stupid, though, because when we were finished I would have to ask him to explain the chapter to me.
Why did this happen? Because I wasn't being true to myself and what was best for me. Everyone reads at his or her own pace. I stopped trying to catch up to the pace my former roommate and best friend can read at. I can't do that. If I tried, I wouldn't be enjoying what I was reading (although most of the time the things we read together were for class).
The same can be said, I think, for writing. So many people say, "Oh I want to write like ______" or "Oh if only I could come up with characters like _______" or "That's the way I'm going to describe/do/plot/whatever things from now on." I will admit, goals are important. But, first you have to find what works best for you. Take inspiration from lots of places. You can learn from other writers, but make sure that it suits you. If it doesn't, it won't work. You'll be like my failed eighth grade science class. You'll suffer for it.
What do you guys think? What kind of readers are you? Have any of you inspiring authors out there tried to over-extend yourselves in writing?