Should I Read or Write?

I have a confession to make. I read more than I write. I don’t write each day (except during National Novel Writing Month), but I cannot go a day without reading. Writers should read widely across all genres and read nonfiction as well as fiction. Most writers do just that, but many struggle to keep up their reading.

In a guest post on Chuck Sambuchino’s Guide to Literary Agents blog on Writer’s Digest, author Dayna Lorentz made a persuasive case for why writers should read.

In summary, Lorentz gave four reasons: reading nourishes your writing, it builds confidence, it enables revision and it helps the writer to sell by allowing the writer to see where her work fits in among popular novels and genres.

Read Dayna Lorentz’s Writer’s Digest blog post

Writers know they should read, but it’s another activity the writer must fit in amidst writing, keeping up with social media, blogging and marketing.

My best advice is to carve out separate blocks of time for writing and reading. Generally, I write during the late evening and I read right before I go to sleep. Reading helps me to unwind and decompress from my writing session.

Reading can help your writing. By focusing on how writers develop stories and scenes, a writer can unlock her creativity. I find when I am reading a particularly good book, I get energized about my writing.

Stephen King reads 80 books a year. He brings books with him everywhere he goes. If he has a few minutes of down time while waiting on a line, King cracks open a book. I even saw a shot of him reading a book on TV during a Red Sox game at Fenway Park.

I’m currently plowing my way through Suzanne Collins’ Hunger Games series. I’m probably spending too much time reading them, but my writing hasn’t suffered.

Reading, like writing, is a habit that is woven into our daily lives. Let’s always take the time to read.

How much do you read? Do you find it difficult to read and keep up with your writing?

 

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7 Comments

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7 responses to “Should I Read or Write?

  1. I think I’ve had just one day in my life, since I first learned to read, that I haven’t read anything at all, and that was because I was too sick to move or hold a book. And before I could do it on my own, my mother read to me every day. Reading is the first thing that happens each morning; I can’t imagine life without it– like breathing. It’s hard to relate to people that don’t read much, too.

    • Mary,
      That is great. You learned the value of reading early in life. An appreciation of books is a real gift that enriches our lives.

      I can relate to what you said about not being able to read when you were sick. I had a similar experience. Thanks for your comment.

  2. I absolutely MUST read – and I read a lot — a whole lot of books, and as well, magazines. I read every night – in fact, I make it a point to go to bed at least an hour earlier than I would if I didn’t read just so I can read. It’s become one of the best parts of my day and ends it well and wonderful.

    By the way – I finished reading the short story collection by your writers’ group and so enjoyed it! Such an eclectic blend of writers and stories!

    • Kat,
      Thanks for your comments. I feel the same way. I also used to read to my son. We read the entire Harry Potter series. It was so much fun.

      I appreciate your comments on the short story collection. There is a lot of angst in my writers’ group because apparently when the manuscript was uploaded to the Kindle, there were numerous formatting errors. We will probably form a new committee to fix all the errors. Ah, the joys of self-publishing.

      Chris

    • Kat,
      Thanks for your comments. I feel the same way. I also used to read to my son. We read the entire Harry Potter series. It was so much fun.

      I appreciate your comments on the short story collection. There is a lot of angst in my writers’ group because apparently when the manuscript was uploaded to the Kindle, there were numerous formatting errors. We will probably form a new committee to fix all the errors. Ah, the joys of self-publishing.

      Chris

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