Thursday, March 15, 2012

The Impact of Reading

2011 was crazy. I started my first blog. For the first time I considered myself a serious writer. I got all giddy about the caliber of writers I was meeting. Somewhere in the mess I stopped reading.

The thing was, I didn't think I had time. Blogging swallowed me whole. Not to mention the thrill of writing and learning about writing. I was so naive and clueless before blogging it hurt.

It took me eight months to figure out just how much I needed reading in my life. Many of you know that I had a little breakdown and stopped blogging all together. That time was good for me. It wasn't long, but it was just long enough for me to stretch my wings and figure out what I needed to do so blogging wouldn't rule my life anymore. It also gave me the chance to pick up a good book (or two).


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I still love blogging. I still love visiting other blogs and seeing my friends succeed in the publishing industry, there is nothing more thrilling. But I needed to claim my reading time back.

Let me tell you, reading a book a week has changed me. When you become a serious writer, when you study out the rules, you figure out what works and what doesn't.

Reading not only spawns ideas,but it fills you with the power of creation. It makes you believe in literature again. It's easy to lose that faith when you become a cynic of writing. But the truth is there are so many good books out there that can teach you about writing and what your book is missing.

Read. Read in your genre. Read to enjoy and read to learn. We cannot become excellent writers without reading. You can set a little blogging aside. You can set a little writing time aside. Reading is important. It will make your writing better, and will fill your life with the stories we writers crave.

Make it priority. Start today, and never stop.

35 comments:

Cristina said...

I agree 100%. I couldn't not read :) glad you found your way back to it.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Blogging can take over.
I go through spurts where I will read several books and then none for a few months.

Anonymous said...

WOW!! Very profound advice here honey and very good at that. I LOVE reading and I couldn't imagine my life without books that would be to awful to contemplate :). We just have to enjoy life and do everything in moderation. I am so happy that you made your way back honey.x

Kate said...

My family accuses me of reading too much. Yeah, they're right . Sometimes I do :)

Christa Desir said...

Yes to this. So yes. I read 5-7 books a week. Some of them are manuscripts (day job), but some are "real books"---only once you've started editing do you really see things when you "read."

I'm all, "I would have edited out that 'that' in this case."

:)

Kelley said...

This is SUCH a good post. One of my NY Resolutions was to read a book a week. So far so good (though I am counting work that I critique for others, because lets face it, that takes a LONG time and I think I learn just as much about my writing as they learn about there's :)).

And you're so right, we can't do this writing thing to the best of our abilities if we don't read.

Annalisa Crawford said...

I struggle to find time to read. I know I need to make time to do it. But it always feels like I could be doing something else - writing, cleaning, hoovering, or even just watching TV with my kids. Reading seems like a luxury too far at the moment. I really just need to recategorise it as 'research'!

Peggy Eddleman said...

You've totally inspired me to read more! I read every day-- a novel of my choosing during lunch, a novel of my kids' choosing with them at bedtime-- but it doesn't add up to nearly enough. I must find more time to just plain read!

Hektor Karl said...

Love this: "Reading not only spawns ideas,but it fills you with the power of creation."

It's something I also remind myself.

Leigh Covington said...

So true! If it wasn't for reading, I probably wouldn't want to be a writer. It takes time to find a good balance, but once you do - life is good! :)

Kyra Lennon said...

Excellent post! I went through the same as you - but it happened before I started blogging. I was working hard freelancing and wasting way too much playing silly games on Facebook that I stopped reading. I don't think I read anything other than articles for about two years! This year, I realised it was time to get back into reading, and I hope to read at least 50 books by the end of 2012!

Ava Jae said...

Yes! Reading is so, so, so important for writers. I too have made a point to read more this year and I couldn't be happier with my decision. It really does inspire you and make you enthusiastic about writing, not to mention all the things you can learn from other published authors out there. :)

Mark Noce said...

It may sound odd, but I always think of Revelations where John literally consumes and devours the books the angels give him. It's kind of like that for writers, we need to imbibe books and make them a part of us on a daily basis. Power to you!

Alice said...

I stopped reading for several years too after I started writing cuz I felt like I didn't have time to read. But I started reading again a few years ago. I try to read one book a month and have started listening to some audiobooks while I clean or exercise. It does make a difference and I enjoy it.

Krista McLaughlin said...

So very true! Reading is incredibly important if you want to be a good writer. I've actually done a post on this too. :)

Joanne said...

For the past few years, I actually stop blogging completely for 8 weeks each summer. It gives me so much time for all the other aspects of writing. I think it's a necessary part of blogging, to step away from it sometimes.

Anonymous said...

When I'm writing a lot I tend to stop reading otherwise I fear I'll be using other people's words.

The Golden Eagle said...

I love reading. I don't finish as many books as I did before I started blogging, but I try to pick them up whenever I can. :)

Great post!

Morgan said...

Yessss. Absolutely. You've nailed it. Reading is the basis for everything we do... we can't let that slip. :D

JEFritz said...

As if I needed an excuse to read. But I'll take it!

Julie Daines said...

It is easy to let reading fall to the side. And when I'm drafting, I have to be careful what I read so that the voice of the book I'm reading doesn't sneak its way into my writing.

I agree with you about blogging. It can be overwhelming. I finally decided that the best and most popular blog in the world can't make up for good, quality writing time. I decided to limit my blog posts to once a week. It made a huge difference.

Carolyn V said...

I love reading, but like you, I also couldn't find time (about a year ago when I was going through school). But I'm back to it now and love it! ;)

McKenzie McCann said...

Oh my gosh, I can't believe I haven't followed this blog yet! Shoot. I thought I had before today. >.< My bad.

Well, does me giving you The Lucky 7 Meme today make up for it? Hope so...

Hope Roberson said...

I remember reading Stephen King's book On Writing and he reads upwards of 100 books a year. I would never be able to pull this off since I'm a super slow reader and I have a life outside of writing and reading, but I am trying to read more. I try for a book a week, but it ends up closer to a book every two weeks. Glad I've found your blog and glad you're finding a balance :)

Shannon Lawrence said...

You make a great point, and I agree wholeheartedly! I always have to read to go to sleep, and I keep a book on me at all times, when possible (as well as paper and pencil).

Shannon at The Warrior Muse, co-host of the 2012 #atozchallenge! Twitter: @AprilA2Z

Sarah Pearson said...

I totally agree with this. I've finally learned to take the time I need for reading, even when I think I can't - especially as I'm revising a story I've written in a genre that's new to me!

Madeleine Maddocks said...

Oh I hear you on this, nit jkust reading time but writing time too.
good luck

Melissa Sugar said...

I couldn't agree more. I have to read. I feel lost if I go too long without reading a good novel. I learn so much about what works & doesn't work, pacing, stakes, plot points, placement of big scenes etc. I think reading teaches us this even before we realize we are learning it. I am always reading at least two books at one time. I also read every writer's craft book that I can get my hands on (I know that authors have mixed feelings on whether we should continue to do this or not). Thanks for sharing & I am glad you made time to again include reading in your day. It relaxes me and does wonders for my motivation to keep working toward my goal to one day be published. I am glad things are going better for you.

cherie said...

I'm always reading. I can't NOT read. I was a reader first, before I became a writer, so reading is just as much a passion as writing. :)

Kate Coursey said...

Yes yes yes! This! I really got out of the habit of reading when I first became a serious writer, but if we lose the passion for reading, then what's the point of writing? I, too, am trying to get back into reading. Hope it works!

Jenny S. Morris said...

I just discovered that when I'm editing I need to take a break from reading because I'm too critical. But now I've jumped back in and realized I missed it just like you. Balance is so hard to achieve, but I'm working on it.

Lynn(e) Schmidt said...

I think it's also super important to read outside your genre, especially as a new writer. Maybe you'll like what you see there, and change genres. Or, there could be something in the writing that you find helpful. I like to be a well-rounded reader :)

I remember when you stopped blogging. It made my heart sad, I'm happy your back (even if I don't comment as frequently as I should :) ).

Keep reading, and keep writing. :) You're a rockstar

Jayrod Garrett said...

I went through a period when I got home from Iraq and began blogging that I wasn't reading. It didn't last long because I started offering books on my blog, so I began reading the books that I offered on the blog. It has been a wonderful opportunity to learn and grow. :D

prerna pickett said...

Hi, I'm in the same campaign group as you. I wanted to introduce myself and also let you know that i tagged you in the seventh meme challenge going around the campaign. stop by to get the rules. prernapickett.blogspot.com

MTeacress said...

It's hard to figure out that balance, isn't it? I still read, but not as much as I would like to. Excellent reminder post. :)

Have a good week!