Monday, March 11, 2013

Writers CAN Read Too Much

(Time change made me lose an hour of sleep. Yawn. I like the time change more in autumn, but I love the extra daylight now. And, this change might help me get back to a normal, non-insomniac sleep pattern. Really. It's a problem.)

This is for all those people who feel that reading has become almost like a chore.

I have a huge to-be-read pile. I do. I TOTALLY do. Here's a list.

1. Anna Karenina
2. This Side of Paradise
3. Tender is the Night
4. The Beautiful and the Damned
5. The Brothers Karamazov
6. Wuthering Heights
7. An anthology of Ernest Hemingway (which I got from Barnes and Noble)
8. The rest of Victor Hugo's work (I've fallen in love with him after reading Les Mis)
9. Inferno (Dan Brown's new book about to come out)

AND THAT IS JUST SOME. I have to read so, SO many more modern books! I'm still in a classic-fix and I can't get out. They're just too darn good. (But I do plan on reading some of the books you suggested . Some of those books will one-up the books I have listed above :D THANK YOU FOR THAT! I neeeed to read more modern books, and you've given me a gold mine.)

As writers, we read (at least, most of us do). We have a love for it, and we want to read a LOT.

But there is only so much time on your hands, and so, so many books. For some of us, getting time in to write is a chore in itself. Many of us don't have the luxury of a lot of free time to write. So if you spend that time reading instead of writing - well, you aren't doing much to be a writer.

Reading should be a pleasure. It should be fun, it should be exciting, it should remind you why you want to be a writer in the first place. And reading is almost necessary to be a good writer. Reading a lot is one of the biggest things you can do to advance your writing. Every book is a lesson on writing.

But if you have just one hour of free time a day, write. Don't read.

If you have to chose between finishing writing a scene or finishing reading a scene, write.

Because we are writers, and writing is our job. No matter how fun something is, you wouldn't be able to stop an important meeting and do that thing, right? The same way, writing is your job. Work at it, and spend your free time (we all know we have some sometime during the week) doing what you love. Reading can be that thing.

But if you are experiencing frustration (which is different from Writer's Lag), take a break from writing and maybe read. Do something else.

And if reading feels like a chore (next book, then the next book, then the next book) and you are rushing, but not enjoying it, take a break! Stop and smell the roses! Know why you are reading in the first place - to enjoy. Life is not all about rushing. Don't read like a robot - feel free to explore and read things just for fun (not just "high-brow" classics). I really should listen to my own advice, by the way....

Don't read so much so that you become a reader and not a writer. But, don't read so little so that you don't know how to write.

Reading is SUPER SUPER SUPER important. BUT, reading is not your job, nor your chore. Writing is. Finding the balance between the two is hard, but important.

And laugh at yourself! We are not fighting in a war, putting our life on the line, or have lives on our hands. We are writing, and it is a blessing that we can do that. Don't feel so stressed out by it all - have fun, and...well, this has become a post about having fun, so I'll end it right here and save it for another post :D


What do you think? Does reading ever feel like a chore to you?

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  1. If reading is a chore, then I stop reading that book.

  2. Sometimes I feel guilty because I'm not reading enough. I always try to buy my friend's books when the come out, but sometimes I'm late, and I find myself wanting to apologize. I do agree with you, writing is more important. I go through spurts of wanting to read like a maniac to it being a chore. Glad I'm not the only one. :)

  3. If I only had one hour, I would read for 30 minutes and write for 30 minutes.

    I have always made time for reading, even if I have had to hold my eyes open after a long busy day!

  4. But but I have to read. I love reading fiction. Actually I have to read before going to bed. I can't survive without it. :D

  5. I'm such a slow reader. It takes me on average a week for a full length novel.

  6. You steal the words from my mouth. Writing isn't homework last I checked... :)