Writer Life & Lessons

Reading as I Write

charmed 012When I was in school, I’d read two books a week. I loved reading, and my first memory of school is still being told I could only read the books with the gold sticker on them. When I read one in ten minutes, the teacher quizzed me on it; disbelieving I’d read it properly. After that, I was allowed free-reign of the library, and I discovered non-fiction books. I also discovered Willard Price, so books went from “Sally and Tom walked along the road” to “Was the ship on fire? Red flames shot up and white steam filled the air”.

During university, my reading decreased, and in 2009 I began keeping a list of all the books I’d read and how much I enjoyed them. From that, I could see that  12 books in a year didn’t really match with my expectations of myself. I made a goal in 2012, and renewed it in 2013 to read 26 books during the year.

Now that I write, however, reading has taken a huge back-seat. Despite the advice being “read as much as you can, both good and bad writing, your genre and outside”, I still have the student mentality of “it’s not writing the essay, I don’t have time to read the background information”.

Which sucks, considering I have so many books on my “to read” list (around 400 I think) and how much I enjoy reading once I set down the time to really get into it. In the last week I’ve read two short books in two evenings, because I got so drawn into them I couldn’t actually justify doing anything else.

I need to get that feeling back. Last night I read for about 20 minutes before bed. If I could manage that even 3 times a week, I’ll be back on track for completing a few books and enjoying the stories. I’ve picked books that are short or I’ve read before, so that I can use the motivation of having finished them to push me forward.

How do you balance reading and writing?

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