"If you don't have the time to read, you don't have the time or the tools to write." ~ Stephen King
I totally love that quote, but when he was speaking of aspiring writers claiming they don't have time to read, I thought Sai King was joking. And then I heard someone say it. Almost as bad are those that say they "only read so-and so and so-and so" or only "(insert genre)."
This is bad, people! If you don't read at all, how are you supposed to expand your vocabulary? How are you supposed to be able to tell why a certain sentence works while another falls flat on its face? How are you supposed to know what's been done and what hasn't?
And for those of you that slavishly stick to a handful of authors or one genre, you will likely never get the inspiration to put a creative spin on your story. That goes for you especially, romance authors. It's not enough to branch out to a western romance or a romantic suspense for inspiration. Read a "real" western or a real "thriller." Observe what the author does when there is no romantic relationship at stake.
A good romance often has another plot besides that of "will they get together?" But many fall flat. If your characters are on a spaceship in danger of being attacked by aliens, it would likely do you good to read a sci-fi or six for inspiration on descriptions of the experience. Also, you get the bonus of falling in love with new authors and new stories.