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.
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?