It may seem obvious, but it is often pointed out nonetheless. If you are serious about writing, you must also be serious about reading. Simple.
Only it isn’t so simple, really. Often we are so busy trying to write, that there seems little time to spend reading other people’s masterpieces.
We need to make time.
For a slow reader such as myself, it can feel doubly difficult.
I’m a busy woman. I work. I run a household of four humans and three cats. How can I set aside time to read when I can barely snatch a few minutes to myself to write most days?
By being creative.
On days when my husband and/or daughter aren’t available to give me lifts [which is quite a lot of the time] I have to get two busses to and from work. Since one only runs every half-hour I have to allow a lot of time for traveling. So I make sure I have a book to read at the bus stops. I can’t read on a moving bus – it gives me motion sickness – and I’d hate to risk missing my stop. Still, I have an iPad, so I download e-audio books from the library and listen to them as I travel.
I have a book beside my bed, and try to snatch at least a few pages before I go to sleep.
I carry a book in my handbag [the criteria for choosing a new handbag is ‘will it fit an average sized paperback?’] and pull it out whenever I have to queue anywhere, or wait in the doctors, dentist, or hospital etc.
I always have between two and five books ‘on the go’ at any given time.
I sign up for Children’s Book Day at the library – an annual work thing that is sadly coming to an end this year. This requires me to read six picture books, five junior books and four teen titles. These are set texts, so I get to read material I may not otherwise look at twice.
I also run a Chatterbooks group at the library where I work, for 8-12 year olds. We read a book a month for that.
I sign up to the Goodreads annual Reading challenge.
I did this in 2013, though I didn’t start in January, and read about 42 books.
This year – 2014 – I read 80! With a whole day to spare!
Okay, so some of them were the prescribed picture books – plus a couple I read by choice – but, even so, anyone who knows me will know that this is quite an achievement.
Check out my reading list for 2014 here
Which of these books have you read?
What did you think of them?
Of course, I’ve actually read more than these 80 titles this year when I come to think about it.
I’ve read some amazing fan fiction over at LiveJournal, ff.net and AO3 [not to mention some pretty bad stuff and one or two good stories over at wattpad]. I’ve beta read some fiction by friends and fellow writers I’ve ‘met’ online. I’ve read articles online. I’ve read blogs from like minded fans and writers.
When I really analyze it, I’ve managed to read a whole heck of a lot.
I’m pretty proud of myself right now.
How about you?
Are you reading as much as you think you should – or maybe, without even realizing it – are you reading even more?