So, like any novice author - I took a 'getting published' class at the community college. Being slow on the curve I went after I thought I was done with the book. I had written 60k words - imagine surprise when the instructor stated that 80k was the average. Okay, that isn't the bad advice. The bad advice was that he suggested that writers stop being readers as they are working – reasoning ... was not to be influenced by another's style. I took it to heart and stopped reading - which is difficult for someone who loves to read. Two years I walked away from bookstores. Then I couldn't stop myself and picked up The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown. It was awesome and gave me more than a moments – Uh, oh! I cannot do that!!
Putting my insecurities aside – I continued writing and reading. And because I had learned my people so well - reading didn't influence my writing in any negative way. If anything - it made it better.
As a side note - I was able to catch up on 24 missed months or reading and loved almost every page of it!