Day 68 – To read or to write, that is the question

Day sixty-eight of my 365 Day Writing Project.

Words: 600

For my job, I read a lot. I mean, A LOT. And I write a lot too. I find it ironic that the two most important things to do to become a successful writer are to read and write as much as possible. It’s ironic because I don’t consider the reading and writing I do for my job to go hand-in-hand with my pursuit to be a professional writer. Since I am and want to be a writer of fiction, I need to read and write fiction as much as possible. Not contracts, legal memoranda, pleadings, motions and complex letters, among other things.

I enjoy reading fiction as much as I enjoy writing it. But I haven’t read any books since I started this project. I have no time to. I write late at night after I get the kids to bed. By the time I turn in, I’m too tired to open a book and I need to get some sleep before my alarm goes off early the next morning.

Currently, there is a book sitting on my nightstand that I would like to read. I swear it’s calling me. Read me. I read the first few pages but haven’t had a chance to read more. I really want to. So what should I do? Sacrifice some of my writing time to read? That may be the only way, but I hate to think of sacrificing my writing time. It is too important.

I need to find another way to get in some reading for fun. Writers, how do you manage to fit in time to both read and write?

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4 thoughts on “Day 68 – To read or to write, that is the question

  1. Stephen King said in his book “On Writing” to take a book with you everywhere. He suggested reading when you’re waiting to pick up your kids, or at the salon (instead of some out-of-date magazine), when in line for fast food, literally every moment that you can carve out.

    I don’t have kids, so I’m sure it’s super challenging for you, but I’d try to find a way. I might even consider hiding a book at work. Work 55 mins, sneak a moment and read five.

    Just some thoughts. (And there’s a chance that your foundation of reading over your entire life — tv watching/studying of plots, as well — is enough. But I’d try what King suggests, and I know I certainly limit my TV watching and movie watching, as well. I can’t name even two dozen actors, and miss most of the cool movies and TV series, but when my friends mock me, I remind myself that I have a book or two out and they don’t.)

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    • King’s advice works for King, because he’s got nothing else to do all day other than read and write.

      While I usually agree with King, I’ve got to say that the most important thing about writing is writing. I mean, if you don’t write, then you aren’t a writer.

      I say go with your gut. Set a writing minimum; a certain number of words or minutes you just HAVE to write every day. It helps to do this around the same time everyday. If you haven’t written your limit yet, maybe you shouldn’t crack open that page-turner.

      Unless, of course, you’re exhausted and you really need a mental break. Why is life always so busy?

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      • It was my recollection from his book that he was referring to his reading habits back when he was an English teacher, but maybe I’m wrong on that.

        I think he was a parent then, as well, and living in a trailer. And I think he’d write in earlier mornings, during lunch, and at night, while always carrying a book with him to read every chance he got. (I need to re-research this to confirm though. I’ve actually read the book three or four times, trying to use it for fuel, but the last time I read it was probably four or five years ago! Stupid memory…)

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  2. I think I have started around 5 novels in the past month and then just as it is getting good, suddenly I have a week of sick children, teething etc and the flow is completely lost. Perhaps I should set aside 15 minutes of reading each night. It might help me get in the habit. At the end of the day. Good luck – it’s tricky with the young ones !

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