Thursday, October 20, 2011

Don't Forget to Read!

Maggie Smith / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
How important is reading for a writer? 

Seems like a silly question right? I mean of course in order to write, you need to read. That's a given!

Except for some reason when I get caught up in my writing, I forget to read.

Reading, for me, is like breathing. I don't just read books, I devour them. I'm a bookaholic. I set myself goals each year on how many books I want to finish. Last year my goal was 52 and although I fell short, I still managed over 40 books.

You see I'm a huge geek. For the last few years I've been keeping track of every book I've read. I keep special journals where I rate each book out of 5 and write a little review.

After reaching a career reading high last year, I decided that come January 2011 I would focus my attention on writing. I was worried that I was using reading as an excuse not to write. With sheer determination, I stepped into 2011 without a reading goal or a new journal.

Biggest mistake ever!

You see, I forgot how important reading is. I went almost 3 months before I finished two books.  My friends were amazed and worried about me. Yeah, that's how much I normally read. People worry about me when I'm not.

I let my creative well run dry. There's no better way to put it. Great writers read a lot and if I'm determined to be a great writer...which I am... I need to read.

When I'm feeling as though my writing is terrible or that no one cares what I have to say, I know that I've neglected my other passion.

I still don't have journal for this year, I'm struggling to find a novel that captures my attention and I'm doubting my ability.

Needless to say this January 2012 I'll be keeping track of my reading habits.

 Oh, and I'll have a pretty new journal too!

11 comments:

prettylittlebanana said...

What a great idea! I am an English teacher, and it's easy to focus on reading and writing for the classroom. But all too often I forget to nourish my own needs as a reader and writer. A journal seems like a great way to keep track of that. That will be my New Year's resolution: Keep track of my OWN reading! Keeping track through GoodReads or on a blog also seems to work well for others. Maybe I need to try that!

Daniel Swensen said...

I agree completely. I think Stephen King said in a couple of his books that if you don't have time to read, you sure don't have time to write.

Goodreads has a year-long challenge widget that lets you track how many books you want to read in a year. It keeps my motivation to read in front of me. I look forward to seeing how this goes for you.

write_me_happy said...

Balancing the two is always a struggle for me because I have other interests nagging for attention as well. But I know that I mustn't forget the importance of both.

Good luck with your tracking and thanks for the comments!!

Catherine Noble said...

I know exactly how you feel! I describe reading as a form of nourishment for the soul. When I don't read, I begin to feel creatively malnourished; it's awful!

I have a little spreadsheet for the books I've read, where I write about what stood out for me. I haven't kept it maintained properly though. :( Or maybe the books I've been reading haven't stood out enough to compel me to write about them...

I adore the idea of the Goodreads tracker :) I just know myself too much though - I'd get pressurised by my own goal and fall short because of it. I'm settling for a wish list, to pick at as and when desired :)

write_me_happy said...

A wishlist is a great idea. I have one entire shelf on my bookcase that is dedicated to books I need to read. It never seems to go down :-/

write_me_happy said...

And thanks for the comment Catherine!

Lillie McFerrin said...

You're absolutely right! Reading for me is as much education as it is enjoyment. I love learning new ways to perfect my own writing from reading books of my favorite authors. Keeping a star system is a great idea!

write_me_happy said...

Thanks for the comment Lillie! The world is a better place when we read and write!

zencherry said...

I started reviewing books just so that I could keep those books flying past me with no excuses. Now I have a deadline and THAT keeps me motivated like no other.
Great post! :D

write_me_happy said...

Thanks zencherry!

Lillie McFerrin said...

Hey Angie! I have given you an award on my blog :)

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