To Read or Not to Read?
It should go without saying that writers are, first and foremost, readers. I know that’s how I got interested in the craft of writing. I read books nonstop from a young age and “caught the bug” of writing, so to speak. I wanted to create stories too. That's the way it went for most of us, either that or we’d run out of material that satisfied and realized the only way to get it was to write it ourselves.
Writing comes through reading. You won’t see an author that hates to read because we all know how many times you’re going to have to read through that manuscript of yours. It just doesn’t happen. Non-readers don’t write, but writers read. Writers always have, always will. Writers must and just because we’ve started writing, doesn’t mean we stop reading. Far from it. I would argue that we need to read more.
And yet, for the past few years that I’ve been writing seriously, I’ve been reading less and less. This year has been particularly bad. I finished Obsidio on August 24 and I just started a new book (Our Dark Duet) two days ago. It might not seem like a big deal, but compare this: in 2015, I read 84 books; this year, I've read 10. The difference is insane. I spend most of my free time writing and completely neglecting my first love, which is reading. I don’t know if my writing is suffering for it exactly, but I definitely think it would benefit from more reading. Life is all about balance and that’s something I’ve been struggling with lately. I need to both read and write. I need to set aside time in my busy schedule for reading, same as I do for writing because they are both equally important, or they should be.
So I’m going to challenge myself to read a chapter a day, at least, before I start writing. So if I don't read, I don't get to write. Yes, this means I’ll be cutting my writing back, but this decision will enrich my writing. It’s not about finishing your book – or in my case, my draft – as soon as possible, which is what I’ve been trying to do. It’s about finishing your book as best you can. In the second draft and beyond, it’s about quality of words, not the quantity of words or pages you get done each day. At least, that’s how I see it. If it takes an extra month to finish this draft because I took the time to stop and read, so be it. I will be a happier person and a better writer for it.
Let me know in the comments what your guys' reading goals are, and if you've ever struggled with the same problem. Have a lovely day and, as always, keep writing.