“If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have the time (or the tools) to write. Simple as that.”
As a writer, I often place my focus on writing. And when I say writing, I mean MY writing.
I believe the above statement is very true, but could you actually tell I believe it from the outside looking in?
I try to read as much as I can. Until I get into a nasty habit of watching several hours of King of Queens or Big Bang Theory reruns each night instead of reading. Then I justify it; my eyes are tired. I don’t have the energy to read. (But I do to watch TV? What does that say about TV and what it’s doing to our brains? I don’t think I want to know to the answer.) But this is not a rant against TV. It’s great in moderation. Sometimes TV gives me great ideas to write about.
But inspiration from TV is rare when compared to reading a good book.
It is difficult, if not impossible to learn to waterski by watching the boat only. To learn to ski, you have to watch other skiers and learn from them. But more importantly you have to get in the water and try yourself. (Does anyone else feel they are going to get attacked by a huge monster whenever they are in the water? Maybe too many episodes of River Monsters or Jaws is to blame. Okay, back to the topic at hand.)
I have read more in the last year than I have ever before. But the majority of what I have read could be considered self-help books or books about writing. I have often viewed fiction as too much of a gamble. A lot of time is required for what could potentially be a lousy ending. (I’m sure I have learned this from watching too many lousy movies.)
There is nothing worse to me than investing a lot of time only to be disappointed.
But you MUST invest time to be rewarded.
I decided to drop the know-it-all attitude and I’ve gobbled up more fiction in the last 6 months than I have at any point. Short stories, novels, you name it. Tales of life in the 1920’s, tales from today or even hundreds of years in the future.
Challenge yourself and you will often rise to the occasion.
Just don’t beat yourself up when you fail. It is beyond counterproductive.
If anything, praise yourself for trying and see what you can learn from the experience.
My challenge to you is this–intentionally read this week. That’s it.
Read, read, read. Read everything — trash, classics, good and bad, and see how they do it. Just like a carpenter who works as an apprentice and studies the master. Read! You’ll absorb it. Then write. If it’s good, you’ll find out. If it’s not, throw it out of the window.”
― William Faulkner
Is reading a part of your writing routine?