On Jane Friedman site:
We’re all so judgy. We peer at storylines and dialogue lines and individual words, and we snort when a writer makes a choice we wouldn’t have made. We snort even more loudly at ourselves, those times when we just absolutely hate what we’ve written and think the author (Me! I’m the author!) must be an idiot. And then we’re stuck. So maybe we turn to someone else’s book for inspiration. Someone else’s good book. And then we’re more stuck than ever.
Over and over, we’ve heard that we need to read the best books first, learn from them, and apply the lessons to our own work. Never waste time with books you know you won’t like, ones that aren’t at the very pinnacle of your chosen genre or category.
This advice, like all advice, isn’t right all of the time. If the best is all you are reading, you’re limiting the sense of what writing is. You’re limiting yourself.
Here’s a wrinkle: Books you don’t like can be great teachers too. And when you’re really blocked and despairing, a bad book might give you just the help you need.