The problem with writing …

Are you a writer? Are you a reader? Do you divide your time equally between the two? When I started writing with the goal of publication, my reading time declined—particularly my fiction reading. And my non-fiction reading changed to consist almost exclusively of how-to write books.

During my years of devouring novels, I often thought how wonderful it would be to write my own. It never occurred to me that the authors of those books might not have much time to read. Although, apparently some writers manage to write and read at a pace I envy. Stephen King says, “I’m a slow reader, but I usually get through seventy or eighty books a year, mostly fiction.”

The year I was ten, I read 72 books for the Summer Reading Program. As an adult, that would have been my usual yearly average—before I began writing every day. In 2009, I  started keeping track of books read. That year, I read 24 books, 17 of which were fiction. I read 18 books in 2010, and 14 of them were fiction. I may have forgotten to include a few, but still those are pathetic totals. My to-be-read stack keeps growing (some added are yours), but it doesn’t appear I’ll do any better this year. Unless I change something.

You tell me: How many books do you average reading a year? Do you schedule your reading time?

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434 thoughts on “The problem with writing …

  1. Well, believe it or not, despite being the spreadsheet queen, I have no idea how many books I read a year. I don’t really schedule reading time, although I have consistent times that are free to read: evenings, when I’m working out. Fairly often when I’m eating lunch. (so maybe that’s scheduling)

    I hope you find more time this year! I lamented the same thing on my blog about a month ago and I’ve since been finding more time to read fiction, so maybe blogging about it is magical. 😉

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    1. I’m surprised you don’t keep track, Cathryn. I used to read while I ate lunch, but now I usually eat lunch at the computer. (Obsession, thy name is Linda.)

      Oh, I hope the magical thing bears out. I miss reading.

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  2. Me neither! I did once put on Shelfari as many as I could be bothered to find the details for, but that’s out of date now. I think my problem is that my best reading time is also my best writing time and, multi-tasker or no, I can’t seem to manage the two together! Only solution is the split brain. A bit extreme but at least then I could have my left brain read and my right brain write. Presumably while my hypothalamus took the day off!

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  3. I am not a writer but since I started writing on a blog, I found that I was reading much less. It is difficult to do both reading and writing. I normally read one book per week but my reading reduced a lot after starting to write about them. I guess i should also write one post per week instead of writing every day.
    http://iandbooks.wordpress.com/

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    1. I have a similar problem. If I’m listening to a lot of different music, i’m likely not writing a lot; it’s more like woodshedding for composition.

      It’s always about balance 🙂

      But when you’re “on the inside” as a writer, you read differently; you’re looking at things in a way to help you own craft.

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  4. I’ve never tried keeping track to be completely honest. Until I started high school last year I did virtually no school (I was homeschooling but my parents are very lax with amounts of work) so I would read all day everyday, since I’m a fast reader I would suspect I was finishing 250 books per year. Many of which were re-read if that counts.

    Now I have to balance high school, youth group activities, writing, and still be ‘sociable’ so I have virtually no time to sleep much less read. However I think I still read 70 – 100 books per year, when I can find reading material.

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      1. When you’re a kid with nothing else to do and a God-given talent to devour books it’s not really much of an accomplishment. lol

        Maybe I will try it out.

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  5. My laser eye surgery vision lasted aprox. 10 years. Prior to that I read very slowly due to eye strain and eye glasses giving me a headache. Then I made up for lost time and read about 800 books in 10 years. October my eyes shut down (maybe due to so much reading) and now I’m back to wearing reading glasses and reading at a snail’s pace. In fact, for the first time in years, I can say I’m not reading anything and haven’t for a few months now.

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  6. According to GR I read 12 books last year. I’m over double that already for 2011! I have to thank my Kindle – without it, I would actually have to leave the house to source cheap books (library/withdrawns is my purchase of choice). As you might know, leaving the house with a swag of small children in tow is anything but relaxing. I prefer to enjoy my book browsing in the relative calm of my home lol. At the moment I read about 2 books a week, but can see how that will drop back a bit when I am in the midst of a big project. (It might have already, with the anthology underway).

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    1. I do love the convenience of my Kindle, Cassie, but so far it hasn’t really increased my reading. Good for you taking better advantage of yours!

      Though I do have a few stacked in my Kindle, most of my to-read list consists of paper books I own or have on my library list.

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      1. Hi! Nice post. I’ve always been an avid reader. I actually never thought about how many books I’d read until I got a Nook. Now, I’m noticing that I average from 1-3 books per week. (It’s getting expensive!) I’m a night owl, so I usually do my reading while everyone is sleeping.

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        1. savesprinkles1234: I got a Kindle after Christmas, but really haven’t used it as much as I’d like. I’m going to have to try this reading myself to sleep thing. 🙂 Thank you for reading and commenting.

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  7. I didn’t really start keeping track of how many books I read a year until this year (2011) and that’s only because of Goodreads. I’ve only ever kept track of what book I’ve read.

    And yes, I try to schedule reading time. There are so many books out there that I want to read and so little time to actually read. I write in the morning before my son wakes up and then again in the afternoon when he naps. If I’m not too beat up from my day then I will read in the evening before bed. And when I leave the house whatever book I’m reading follows me out the door – just in case.

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  8. I go through jags with my reading. I actually miss (sort of) the couple of years I was commuting once a month between the West and East coasts – those long flights were wonderful for catching up on novels! And I like beach days when I can spend a couple of hours immersed in a novel. I try to do that a couple of days a week when the weather permits – as it’s getting ready to do here now.

    Generally I try to read at night and unfortunately after sitting at the computer most of the day my eyes say ‘enuf already’ and it’s more of a struggle than a pleasure sometimes. 😦

    Sometimes I’ll get sufficiently sucked into a book that I’ll take it with me everywhere – read it at red lights, grocery check-out… That, of course, is the kind of book I would love to write – the uber-compelling one!

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    1. I’m envious that you live on/near the beach, Natasha. I’d love to read there. Of course, I’m just making excuses. I used to be able to read anywhere … like check-out lines. 😉

      And yes, someday I hope to write a book readers can’t bear to put down. Maybe I need to read more for inspiration.

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  9. I read at night in bed. It’s not a scheudle, it’s jut what works.
    I read about a book every week and half. I just calculates that because of your question, and that’s about 35 books a year.
    My favourite time to read honestly, is alone with a good sandwhich, salad, and cup of coffee.
    🙂

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    1. You’ve convinced me, Jennifer. From now on, I will return to eating my lunch at a proper table and reading while doing it. That used to be the highpoint of my afternoon. Of course that was before I owned a computer. 😉

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    1. I’m a little relieved, Michellle. It seems a lot of you aren’t putting me to shame. 🙂 I may not read many more books this year, but I’m going to make an effort to read them faster. I feel like I’m missing too much by reading in tiny little chunks. I know that’s not the way the author intended us to read.

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  10. I don’t keep track of the books I read and wouldn’t know the numbers. I read a lot of YA which makes sense, but I also read a fair amount of adult novels. Since we live about 50 minutes out of town I sometimes take a book along to read in the car just to get that extra reading time in.(Works unless my husband is in a chatty mood.) When I’m not working outside the home I will grab a book for a few moments here and there throughout the day unless it’s one I simply can’t put down.

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  11. There was a time when I read almost a book a day. Now I’m lucky if I get through one every week or so. I don’t keep track, though. I should really start. Oh, and like you, my reading time goes down when my writing production goes up. There are only so many hours in the day after all.

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    1. You’re right, Amanda, it’s only logical that the more time we spend writing, the less we have for reading. (I’m saying DUH! to myself. :D) It’s a question of balance, though these days writing takes precedence.

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  12. Seventy to 80 books a year?!?! Mr. King has intimidated me, once again…

    I’m lucky if I am able to devote myself to 5. A lot of my reading is Internet based, however, because the book I’m developing has a lot to do with social media. So my reading right now is research, and I do a TON of it.

    But that’s not to say I don’t see the importance of reading published, amazing authors for the insights that activity provides to honing my skill.

    I just need the time!!! 😉

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  13. I try to read a certain number of pages per day. This year my goal is 52 books, and I’m already over halfway there. When I was in college, my number of books per year was much lower.

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  14. I tend to divide up my reading simply into non-fiction and fiction. I read a lot of books on music history and musicology, and since I’m a student, I don’t have much time for extra reading outside of classes. Some of these books are very difficult and take a while to process, so I set a goal simply of reading one non-fiction music book each month, while blogging about interesting topics found in the book.
    Since I end up reading so much non-fiction for school, research, and my own interest, I always make sure to be reading a good novel at the same time, just to help my brain relax and enjoy some fiction. I probably go through much more fiction each year than I do non-fiction.

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  15. It’s an interesting question. When I was writing my new book, which is out in two weeks, non-fiction, I read 10 others on that subject within a month or so for background — so I technically read a lot last year but not necessarily books I would have picked up for pure pleasure. Now working on the proposal for book number 3, I am doing the same thing — focused, work-related reading.

    But I am now forcing myself to read for pure pleasure as well, to remember that great writing is everywhere. Currently loving The Thousand Autumns of Jacob deZoet and The Imperfectionists, both fiction and, officially, unuseful for my work. In which lies their enjoyment.

    I probably read 30-40 books a year. Hard to keep track.

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  16. I read around 25 books in a month or sometimes more so my reading score on book count is high but I haven’t kept track. But I am someone who will visit the library 3 times a week. Unfortunately I’ve mostly stuck to fiction. Otherwise it’s memoirs or true crime.

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  17. I try to read 52 books a year. One year my friends and I had a challenge to read 50 books in 52 weeks. It was the only new year’s resolution I ever completed.
    Typically though, it’s around 40-50 a year.

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  18. Great questions. I used to average one a week before I started blogging seriously. My writing time had definitely cut into my reading time–not good, I know, but I’m “out of my mind” trying to find a solution!

    Congrats on being Freshly Pressed! Hang on for the ride!
    Kathy

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    1. Kathy: Yes, you can’t do it all; something has to give when there’s only 24 hours in a day.

      After two and a half years of blogging, this is my first Freshly Pressed experience! Thank you for reading and commenting.

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  19. I’m a college student, so the only books I read are the ones that I have to read. If i do get a chance to read, it’s usually during the summer. I’d say about ten books, but I really want to up that number, even though I’m busy with school most of the time.

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  20. I just started blogging and writing. I sure hope it doesn’t mean my reading will go down like yours because I love reading although I have’t been able to do that for quite a while now. Reading all your comments made me realize how much I miss reading! I remember when I had my first library card, our school librarian had to limit my book borrowing to once a day only. I would borrow a book in the morning and return it by afternoon to get a new one…

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    1. peachgladioli: If you’ve just started writing, now is the time to discipline yourself to schedule reading time. I don’t think I realized how much my reading had fallen off until I started keeping track of the books I read. After all, a writer HAS to read. You’re library experience sounds familiar. 🙂 Thank you for reading and commenting.

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  21. im devouring les miserables right now…if i were to start counting, do i get AT LEAST double for it? haha…these are great questions, but at the end of the day my writing/reading time are so separate that even though im doing more writing now, it has not affected my reading.

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    1. dearexgirlfriend: It does seem like we should get extra credit for reading some book, doesn’t it? 🙂 Good for you, keeping your reading time steady. And good luck on your writing. Thank you for reading and commenting.

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  22. I wouldn’t be so harsh on yourself since you admit you’re trying something new in your schedule, writing every day. I’m on a similar life change journey, also trying to find time for writing. Previously all I did was work and come home and watch a movie, maybe read a book here and there. Now I’ve set some new goals based on my dream to one day be a published writer. I’ll tell you, I’ve allowed my goals to change if necessary. For example, I wanted to start with reading one book a month, but have been able to do 2 fairly easily. So my minimum now is 2 books a month, at least by the end of the year, that’ll be 24 books, and the writing craft books I get are an ongoing process of reference material so they add up in there too. I’m to the point where I’ll need to schedule my time for writing better so I can accomplish more of that! Yikes! How do you set your goal for writing? By word count or time frame? I’d love suggestions! Especially since my “day job” has no set schedule and consumes 50+ hours of my time.

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    1. Jess: I am not a disciplined writer, but then, I have the luxury of many free hours a day. In your situation, you might work better under a set schedule. I listen for the story and write what comes to me each day, whether it’s 100 words or 5,000. Thank you for reading and commenting.

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  23. I am pretty awful at reading and I should put aside more time to do it. I read 3 books last year and 1 book the year before that. I do enjoy reading but I have an awful, awful attention span. I find myself concentrating on the page numbers rather than page content. I’ll work on it!

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    1. Katie: Obviously, some people enjoy reading more than others. Don’t force it, but choose books that truly interest you and maybe you’ll get lost in the experience. 🙂 Thank you for reading and commenting.

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  24. This is a great post for a few reasons. I am one of those people you are wondering about! I only read a few historical bio’s on my own accord up until my early twenties… yet I have a minor in English Literature….and I’m writing a manuscript (historical fiction-but I don’t read historical fiction or anything really-unless I’m on vacation.) Then…to stack irony on top of irony, my blog is a collection of short stories (yet, I don’t read short stories). I know… I am weird.

    Whew! I feel like I just exposed my soul here!!!!!

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    1. The Compulsive Writer: It’s interesting that you write what you don’t read. I’m the opposite. I wanted to branch out and start writing more short stories, so I increased my story reading … but it hasn’t worked. My true love is novels, both reading and writing. Thank you for reading and commenting.

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      1. Yes.. interesting isn’t it! I know I can’ t be the only one out there who does this. Or am I? It would be nice to know I am not alone. Anyone? Anyone?

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  25. Wow, some of you read A LOT !! I used to read about two books a week when I was single and more when I lived at home BUT I find that I’m so busy these days that I am averaging one per month – a pitiful number! I have introduced my other half to reading though and find that if I buy him a good book I get a bit more time to read myself. Sneaky tactics I know but a girl’s gotta do what a girl’s gotta do ….

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  26. As a college student, I get this question a lot… from my peers. I usually go through one fiction (sometimes a memoir) book a week. As of this moment, I have an internship where I write up 1-2 pages single-spaced for each assignment (I currently I have going on right now); a 7+ page paper; 50+ pages of reading for my rhetoric class; reading editing books and doing editing exercises; writing a user manual, brochure, and technical presentation; planning a podcast (interview with a professor), writing a script, coordinating with the rest of my group; and finally studying for the GRE. I also have a paying job, taking 19 credits (6 classes), and therapy to go to every week (will be upped to twice a week).

    I hardly blog anymore because no one wants to read about school.

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  27. Funny! I just wrote a post today that included reading as an area in which I come up short! I suppose that an aspiring author does more writing than reading. Achieving a balance is difficult…not sure what that looks like. Congratulations on being Freshly Pressed! Keep on writing…and reading!

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    1. SomerEmpress: I’m not sure what balance looks like either! 🙂 Obviously, I’m more passionate about writing than reading these days, but I know the first will suffer if I don’t do the second. Good luck on your writing, and thank you for reading and commenting.

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  28. I’m not a hardcore reader but I’d say 70 to 80 books (referring to what Stephen King said) a year does not seem to be that much unless all of them are novels with over 400 pages. 😀

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        1. If this isn’t cleaner, I’ll stop! I’ve read roughly 100 books, randomly tracked HERE, in the last 5-6 years. I’m sure many consume as much in a year. I wish I could write fiction. I recently commented on that in Good fiction themes. I read 1 or 2 hours a day but feel I could and should do more and still have a life outside of reading. I’m surprised how consumed I am reading internet news and opinion, which I don’t count as “reading”.

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  29. Yeah, I find the more time I allot to writing, the less time I have to read. Such a conundrum! Hopefully, a time will come for me when I can read my hundred books a year AND write as much as I like.

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  30. During high school, it came out to about 100 books a year, not counting rereads. In college it dropped quite a bit due to heavy semester loads. These days, I’ve just started keeping track again, and I read just over a book a week. Once I find a job with a shorter commute, I’m hoping to put enough time back into my days to read a bit more, but I’m finding a book a week is a decent baseline rate for me.

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      1. Woof! Book a week sounds pretty good. Don’t forget audiobooks for gym or driving. Some you can multitask with, others require more focus.

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  31. When I was younger I read about a book a day. Now I’m lucky to read 10 in a year. As a full-time student/full-time employee, I may need to look into scheduling some time to read…SOON.

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    1. Lakia: I’m an undisciplined person in most areas, except writing. I make resolutions to change that, but rarely keep to them. I do think I’ll keep to the lunchtime reading though because it was a previous habit. Thank you for reading and commenting.

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  32. I’m currently suffering from half-book disease: I get about 10 chapters in and then, voila!, some other book slinks by and grabs my attention. So here are the books I’m reading now, all at once, because I’m … well … fickle?

    MENTOR by Tom Grimes
    MADAME BOVARY translated by Lydia Davis
    EYEWITNESS AUSCHWITZ by Filip Muller
    MY VERY OWN MURDER by Josephine Carr
    IN PHAROAH’S ARMY by Tobias Wolff
    LIT by Mary Karr (on audio while I walk my dogs)
    THE SITUATION AND THE STORY by Vivian Gornick

    Okay, now that I’ve written them all out, I feel better. Not so many after all.

    (p.s. glad to have found your site through Fresh Pressed)

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    1. Teri: I confess that I do the same thing, though not usually with so many books at once. I have quite a few sitting on my shelf with bookmarks at various points. I just finished a book yesterday, so I think I’ll pick up one of those half-finished books today. But I don’t feel compelled to finish all books I start. If I truly lose interest, there are too many others waiting. I’m glad you found my blog too. Thank you for reading and commenting.

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  33. Reading time is a must with me. I get cranky if I don’t. During weeks when I don’t have a lot going on I can average 7 books a week, but this drops down if I do get busy! And where do I fit all this reading in? I transit everywhere and I’ve become really proficient at reading while walking:P.

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  34. When I was in my early teens I would read 6 books a week. I remember this as that was the maximum the library would allow us, and I would go to the library every week.
    I don’t keep tabs of how many books per year I read now, although after reading your post I may do that. I read mostly in bed as I struggle to fall asleep without winding down first. My life is so hectic that the half an hour at the end of day to read is bliss. I did used to read in my lunchbreak, but am studying a distance learning journalism course now so my lunchtimes are spent in the library studying journalism modules.
    Being able to commute to work would be a good time to schedule some reading time. I spend 10 hours a week in the car travelling to and from work – oohh what I could do with that extra time instead of listening to Radio 1!!

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    1. sweatybetty2011: You’ve inspired me to try another change to my routine. Instead of winding down with a glass of wine and watching a TV sitcom rerun, I think I’ll grab a book. Reading time twice in one day? My brain will be in heaven. Thank you for reading and commenting.

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  35. i’ve heard as a writer it is crucial to keep up on your reading. it is like two sides of the same coin. what you read has an influence on what you write.

    as much as i want to be a writer, i have to admit i read far more than i write at this point!

    (i guess because it’s easier.)

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    1. merediiith: No doubt about it, writing is hard work. But yes, reading and writing are two sides to the same coin. Maybe you’re just refilling on reading at this point, and then you’ll be ready to write. Thank you for reading and commenting.

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  36. I have aspired to be an artist and a published writer my whole life. Then I realized although I am not a well known artist, I am already an artist. Now to become a published writer. Last year, I read two books. I found that once I started pursuing writing passionately, I didn’t want to read anyone else’s writing, for fear of clouding my mind. I wanted to be sure of anything I wrote was uniquely mine! I’ve thought about reading books on how to write, but I believe it has to come organically! That if I write passionatly that it is up to the editors to make it “correct”. Being a writer is no different than being an artist, and it should come from you, not what some expert tells you is the right way!

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    1. destiny2b: I both agree and disagree with you. I think there is value in how-to write books, but none of them can actually tell you how to write — or how you SHOULD write. Your voice has to come from within. But unless publishing does a 180, you should NOT depend on an editor to make it “correct.” That’s simply not cost-effective nowadays. Writers are responsible for submitting polished manuscripts. Thank you for reading and commenting.

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  37. You know, I’ve never counted how many books I read a year. I guess I must expect the figure to be depressing. I know that the time I read the least – for pleasure anyway – was during my English Lit and Creative Writing degree. Although I never believed it would happen, reading kind of became a chore; it was solely for study and when I wasn’t studying I was writing essays or fiction or poetry that I HAD TO write. So reading (and writing) became not about enjoyment.
    I would say – forget the non-fiction ‘How to Write’ things. I always felt that the instruction and the study kind of got in the way of what I wanted to do: read for pleasure so that I could write for pleasure.
    Having said that, everyone’s different and now that I’ve finished my degree I’m reading a lot more and slowly getting back into writing. So maybe we should redress the balance and even out the number of fiction and non-fiction we read? Is that how you keep up motivation and inspiration, do you think?

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    1. colesk: I rarely read any how-to write books nowadays. And when I read non-fiction, it’s usually to research a writing project. But I know that reading fiction is what inspired me to write, so it makes sense that continued reading will keep me writing. The inspiration can go both ways though. If I read a book I feel is not so well written, I’m inspired because I know I’m a better writer. If I read a book that’s beautifully written, I’m inspired to work harder to become an even better writer. Thank you for reading and commenting.

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  38. Since I was eleven I tried to keep on to read at least 1000 pages per month. After the deliveries of the kids this number decreased dramatically. Now it is approximatley 500 pages per month. I do read ficton, I read non-fiction rarely. My reading was effected mostly when I started to write my own novel. But I have stopped, paused, to write it. May be, I paused to write my novel because of being not able to read as I wanted. For a long time I had asked myself, which one is more crucial for me, reading or writing? I think trying to be writer, reading is crucial.
    I’ve been blogging just for one and a half month and it didn’t effected my reading rate. It gave me the chance to review the books that I had read before, because as a part of my blog I’m writing my comments about the books.
    At the end, the answer to the question is I’m reading 30 books per year.

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  39. Hello, everbody — some great discussion here.

    As a writer (some fiction, mainly biography), I find it INVALUABLE to read — but to read GOOD writers. My writing skills increase if I am reading some terrific writing!

    I never keep count of the books read in number, but have long noted titles down, so I could potentially recall what books I’ve read when. I like tracking the little trends! Lots of 17th/18th century French history one year, for instance.

    The horrible part is finding decent fiction. I’m not sure I could find 80 books in a year I cared to read… (I rather tend to haunt the used bookstore anyway.) Time spent reading is too precious not to love the book in your hands.

    k

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    1. Janiete: I completely agree, there’s not enough time to waste reading books we don’t enjoy. And I, too, find I’m inspired to write better when I read excellent writing. Thank you for reading and commenting.

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  40. I categories my reading into three piles. Sci-Fi, Russian Writers, and boring school stuff. My friends always get confused when I switch between Ender’s Game and Pushkin. But sadly my “boring school stuff” pile keeps getting bigger and bigger and I haven’t read anything I have wanted to in awhile.

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    1. Brewprints: We’ve all had to read “boring school stuff,” which is all right as long as it doesn’t permanently put you off reading. I hope you get to read something for pleasure soon. Thank you for reading and commenting.

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  41. You didn’t say if you write primarily fiction or non-fiction. I’d like to know. I will tell you this: I’d love to say otherwise but you will read more non-fiction at the beginning of a writing career. (If you are into poetry, may I suggest one book to you? OK! It is fun to read, by comedian Stephen Fry, “The Ode Less Traveled, unlocking the poet within”. You can pick it up at your local library and if you do choose to do so you will be delighted you did, promise) Until then keep those fiction books handy. I suggest reading one before bedtime each evening. It is a great way to get through a chapter or two before lights out. This is what I do because it is the only time available unless I scoot everyone and everything out of the house, curl up on the sofa for some me w/fiction time.

    I must read around sixty books each year – give or take a few.

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    1. Mary Louise: Except for blog post, which are mostly non-fiction :-), I write fiction. And yes, my how-to write book reading is mainly behind me. I’ll look for the book you recommended. I write poetry for myself, but I wouldn’t be opposed to improving on that.

      As I said to someone in a reply above, I’m going to five the reading before sleep a try. It couldn’t hurt. Sixty books a year sounds like heaven to me. Thank you for reading and commenting.

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  42. hello, linda.

    i used to be able to read 12 books a month. since i started blogging, i think i finish 3 to 4 a month, at least two are fiction. yes, writing does take time away from reading…

    for now, it’s still okey. am not sure about it in the long run, though. 🙂

    congrats on being freshly pressed! 😀

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  43. I actually found i started reading more when I began writing. I’m sort of new to the publishing scene, and i think i just found an agent who is interested in my work. The main point is I definitely kept reading, it is one of the few things that relaxes me. Any advice for the newby?

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    1. averyleighs: Congrats to you, both on keeping up your reading and getting an agent’s interest. I have lots of advice for the newby. Click on the categories in my sidebar. But in general, my advice is to write, write, write. It’s the only way to improve your skills. Thank you for reading and commenting.

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  44. After reading your post and its comments, I feel like a sloth. As a middle school teacher, I read primarily children’s lit and young adult fiction. Of course, that is when I have time to read. My evenings are consumed with tutoring students, grading papers, and meeting with parents. When I find myself basking in the idleness of a free moment, I am usually sprawled across the living sofa beneath the television’s flickering glow. While I do maintain a personal blog and write daily with my students, I do not read nearly as often as I should. I am not sure how to schedule personal reading into my congested life, but I may begin today with a one novel.

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    1. Ms. M Hudson: One page at a time. 🙂 It’s hard to find those moments to read in our busy lives, but they’re there. I’ve returned to my old habit of reading while I eat lunch, and since then I’ve remembered that when my children were small, I kept a book in reach at all times. I’d read a page or two while standing at the stove cooking, or while they were engrossed in some task or play. In short, I made time to read.

      Btw, there’s some excellent YA fiction out there, which I’ve only recently discovered. Thank you for reading and commenting.

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  45. I’m the same as you – I devoured books as a teenager, and then my reading count dropped drastically when I started uni. The only books I read at uni were the ones I had to read for my course (luckily, a lot of these were fiction). Now, I am getting back into reading. My count so far for 2011 is 5..but I’m hoping to improve 🙂 I don’t schedule my reading time, but I mostly read in the evenings, as a relaxing activity after work.

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    1. loveoutloud: Good luck on upping your reading count this year. I’m making the effort to improve this year. I was always such a constant reader, I could hardly believe how few books I’d read in the last couple of years. Thank you for reading and commenting.

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  46. Hi I am a writer too and cause I did so much reading when I was younger I seldom read any fiction now. Most of the good authors have been covered by me a long time ago. My first book is a motivational book based on the Law of Attraction and so I mostly read on this subject only. I find the best time for me to write or read is early morning before the work of the morning starts, mid-day after 2 when lunch is over and tea is still a while away and after dinner at night. Of course I now have the luxury of these times as my kids are grown up … the other hours of the day is just a massive run around trying to complete all that I need to do so that no other work spills over into these 3 slots. If they do then I’m a sore thumb to be around as I am forever grumbling and making heavy weather of it. Nice to have been able to get that off my chest so to speak. Wishing you all success and congrats on being freshly pressed.

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    1. Erika! Nice to see a familiar face among all these new ones. Thank you. When I got up this morning and checked my email and saw all these comments downloading, I thought my blog had been hacked or something. 🙂 It’s great to have all these new visitors — and some new subscribers!

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  47. I read, I read, and I don’t keep count (or want to). Some years I’d probably go through one book a week, other years nothing. I had written professionally before, but even then I never scheduled reading time – scheduled reading is distracting and doesn’t help concentration. Since the pay for professional writing was basically down the tubes, I switched to the less profit-challenged line of being a printer (financial printer, actually). Now that I work an honest living with crooks (bankers, accountants, lawyers, etc), I get to read lies and untruths all the time – great entertainment value and fantastic writing fodder.

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    1. thenakedlistener: As one of those professional liars fiction writers, I’m always happy to hear that people are out there reading. Scheduling for me is coincidental. I’m eating lunch anyway, why not read at the same time. Thank you for reading and commenting.

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  48. Hi, just found your blog. What you bring up here has been bugging me for a while now. I got a Master’s degree in literature, so during my studies I easily read over 100 books a year. After graduating, I needed a break, read a little less, started working as an editor in the meantime, and now I read so much while working every day that sometimes I don’t quite feel like picking up a book in my free time. I feel more like going on a run with the dogs, or focus my eyes in the distance on the sky, or pounding and hammering away with my husband in his workshop. If I do grab a book, it’s always a joy to read, but I find I don’t have the same endurance. I can no longer just sit and read for half a day on a Sunday.

    Unfortunately, I haven’t found a solution yet. I keep thinking about scheduling my reading time, but I have become less and less the carefully scheduling type. I’d love to hear how you solve this problem.

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    1. Yvonne: I can imagine that if I read books as my job, I’d be less likely to read for pleasure. I’ve heard many editors and agents voice that complaint. Surely, when you do read for pleasure, you don’t waste time reading a book that doesn’t grab you. I’ve never been a scheduled person, except for things that are most important to me. Now, I write more than read, but I need both, so I have scheduled reading during lunch, and I’m going to try it before bedtime too. Thank you for reading and commenting.

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  49. I am a crazy reader. I read every night before I fall asleep and on vacation, when travelling, while waiting in doctor’s offices. Can’t say how many books in a year but I’ve read thousands of books in my lifetime. I always say you can put me in any situation and I’ll be OK as long as I have a book with me. Congrats on being Freshly Pressed!

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    1. lifeintheboomerlane: Oh, that’s just how I used to be … and I miss that reading me. 🙂 I tend to hyperfocus on one thing at a time, but since reading and writing are coupled, I need to have a balance. Thank you for reading and commenting.

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    1. notesfromrumbleycottage: I don’t think what I read influences my writing style, but it does influence me to write better. And that’s an excellent reason to increase my reading time. Thank you for reading and commenting.

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  50. With all due respect to your question, I think you’re asking the wrong one. Reading is the best way to improve your writing — but it’s not how much you read, it’s how you read. Whether you read for plot, character, study or pleasure, if you constantly ask yourself why the writer makes the choices he or she is making, you will grow as a writer. I write nonfiction exclusively, and publish most of it, but I read more fiction. It doesn’t matter, as long as you’re reading and closely examining what you’re reading, why it’s working and why it’s not, trying to understand choices in craft, character, story, style, voice, point-of-view, narration, structure — a careful examination of truly great literature will take you much further than all those how-to writing books and popular novels. Best of luck. Keep writing AND reading.

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    1. Paul: Good point. I read both ways, at different times. Reading for pleasure is inspirational to me. Reading to study the writing is instructive. And I agree that studying good writing is the best way to learn “how to.” Thank you for reading and commenting.

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  51. I enjoyed writing in school, and thought becoming a writer was an option for me when I grow up. But recently I tried an (almost) daily writing exercise called Month of Apocalypse – I tried to write fifteen stories in one month – and it was kind of taxing. I found out I couldn’t keep up with the pace and life commitments or mood would prevent me from sitting down and penning a story for that day, and it became one and the half months instead.

    It was fun while it lasted. I’ve always been a big reader though, although lately my focus had shifted from purely fiction novels to newsfeeds, blogs, and comic books, and Twitter.

    I totally understand your struggle, but for a youngster like me I’m fighting more with my obsession with other unbookish pursuits (e.g. video games) than reading vs. writing. And since trying my hand at writing (after leaving school for two years), it made me want to read more because I realised I’ve forgotten how good writers write.

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  52. My time is very limited these days, so when I find I have time to read, I’d rather be writing. I have also discovered over my twenty-eight years as a writer that if I am reading, I am not writing. On the rare times that I am doing both, I have a tendency to allow the author’s style of whatever book I am reading to creep into and take over my own style, something that is never a good thing for an author. I often wish I had more time to read as there are so many great novels that I would love to sink my teeth into. I think most writers start out as avid readers, but as they begin their writing careers, they spend all their time trying to finish their latest creation and less time reading for fun. I miss reading, but these days,for me at least, writing is far more important.

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    1. NC: I agree that when you’re writing, by necessity, there’s a shift away from reading. But for me, writing fueled my desire to write and now it fuels my desire to be a better writer. I might feel differently, if I had the problem of style influence that you do. Even when I’m inspired to write after reading some gorgeous passage, I put my fingers to the keyboard and the words come out in my voice. Thank you for reading and commenting.

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  53. For me lots of times reading inspires me to write. I keep a note pad or voice recorder nearby and while reading I jot down things that spark an interest. I read on average about 50-60 books a year but am still working on a couple of manuscripts.

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    1. fiercebuddhist: When I’m reading to study the writing I, too, do it with a notebook at hand. But sometimes when I’m reading for pleasure, I can’t help jotting down a particularly great phrase or sentence also. I don’t writers can ever read the same as non-writers. 🙂 Thank you for reading and commenting.

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  54. Since I began my trek into professional writing last year, I’ve had a giant surge in word count. And I’ve started blogging more to boot since I use that as a means to keep me on track. I used to keep a book with me all the time for reading, and although I still do, I’m finding my reading time is cut quite thin. I know exactly what you mean about non-fiction books suddenly all becoming how-to writing books. After getting a workable draft finished these last couple of months for my novel, I’m finally cracking open a bit more time to read.

    One thing that helped me (that likely won’t work for everybody) – I went over to Goodreads and signed up for a bunch of interesting premiere giveaways. Out of the 10-15 i signed up for, I only won one, but knowing that someone’s waiting on me to write a review really gets you motivated to read! Like I said, I doubt it’d work for everybody, but it sure helped me out. I’m discovering an awesome new writer and falling in love with science fiction all over again as well. It’s good to get your head out of the haze of writing occasionally.

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    1. Lena: It is good to get your head out of the haze of writing. 🙂 I’ve just started using Goodreads and have entered a few giveaways. I’m thinking about hosting one myself for my soon-to-be-released novel. Thank you for reading and commenting.

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  55. Yet another meaningless post which is wasting your time. Who cares how many books people read in a year ?
    Ah, i know, the internet morons to get more attention for their weblogs and to really discuss this daily nonsense.

    Write down some dumb nonsense, nobody needs, to create more content without intelligence to get more readers and to get more attention .. and to make it on the main page and be proud of yourself … what a nonsense …. Write to write .. write to get attention .. with meaningless content .. but morons will love it. Sad but true.

    My next post will be: “Sometimes i go out in the rain without an umbrella – and sometimes i use it – how often do you use your umbrella ? Please answer me and subscribe to my blog – i need more attention!” – Yeah really, no joke i will make this post right now! Really!

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  56. Congratulations you made it to the front of Word Press! I think it is truly a gift to be able to share information via the web. Great job! I have a blog and a web site named “DONKEY WHISPERER” perhaps you are interested take a look I think you will enjoy all the photos of the Mammoth donkey and mini donkeys and the journey of my life.

    GOD bless you and your family two and four legs!

    Melody
    http://www.donkeywhisperer.com

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    1. Donkey Whisperer: I visit the blog of everyone who leaves a comment here, and always have. It will take me a few days to get around to all these Freshly Pressed visitors, but I’ll do it. 🙂 Thank you for reading and commenting.

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      1. This is one of the first blogs I’ve found so you can see how new I am! Fascinating. I started my blog because I got a new library card and found myself wishing that I had continued a project that I was introduced to in second or third grade where we wrote the names of books we read and placed them in a paper piggy bank (thus the name of my blog feedmypig.net). I have always read passionately, thanks to good family inspirations. I have just completed my Bachelor’s and am a few months from beginning my doctorate studies so I guess I will continue to read for the next several years! Thanks for a great piece. I set my blog up so that I have to read in order to write–that will keep me at the books (in theory).

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        1. feedmypig: Love the name and the concept! 🙂 Good luck with your goal and your degrees. I’ll be around to visit your blog eventually. I’m just amazed how many people Freshly Pressed brought here today.

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  57. I have no idea how many I read and I reread a lot if a book is good. I always like to try to figure out…how did the author do that….I read very quickly the first and if it is worthwhile I reread.
    I tried to figure it out in my head just now but realized that will take from my writing AND reading time!
    Good post,
    Chris

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    1. bridgesburning: I think, as writers, we read on two levels simultaneously, we’re just not always conscious we’re studying the writing. In any case, I do believe writers need to read. Good luck on both. Thank you for reading and commenting.

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  58. You’re right. I used to rip through 300 page books in a day. Since starting college I’ve read one non textbook, and I’m not sure that counts since I had to read it for the pre-med society. Please tell me blogging helps get non-school writing done!!

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    1. sereenazy: I sometimes lament that I haven’t written in a few days, but then someone reminds me that blog posts are writing too. 🙂 I think it’s natural that our reading totals change throughout our lives. You’ll get back to it. Thank you for reading and commenting.

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  59. I am not a writer, per se, however I do have a blog on wordpress. I am an information/junkie- sponge and will read everything about a topic of interest and then some. On average, maybe I read a book every 2 weeks. You’ll find me at:http://fengshuigirl.wordpress.com/
    Wishing you great fengshui for your writing!

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  60. Now that I am in the editing stage of writing my novel I don’t need to schedule my reading time. Even though I love working on my revisions, it is hard for me to get started sometimes. So if I am being really lazy I will just read instead.

    It is definitely hard to find a good balance. When is it okay to get lost in the books, and when is it time to switch gears and do research or write? I don’t know.

    I am a slow reader though so I think on a good year I might make it to 60. (I have a day job too!)

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    1. Liz: You and Mr. King with your “slow reader” definition! 🙂 I never count reading time as wasting my editing time because I know, subconsciously, I’m preparing myself to edit/revise. What better way to tune your eye for editing than to acquaint it with great writing first? Thank you for reading and commenting.

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  61. First of all, congratulations on being freshly pressed! I think this is a worthy subject for discussion, since it likely impacts so many people. Like you, my reading time decreased when I started “making” more time to write; that time had to come from somewhere after all. I also have the charming habit of starting books and leaving them unfinished for some time, so I’m sure my “completed” rate is appalling. Still, I’m comfortable with the rate in which I’m reading now, although I do not keep track of number of books completed per year, so I’m afraid that I can’t directly answer your question.

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    1. mysoulforsale: About starting and leaving off on a book: I don’t feel compelled to finish a book I don’t like, but sometimes I do like it and still set it aside for a while, and I think it’s just that I’m not “ready” for that book yet. Thank you for reading and commenting.

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      1. You make a very good point about being “ready” for a book. I have left books sitting for a considerable period of time before only to pick them up one day and fly through them very quickly.

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        1. mysoulforsale: That’s been my experience too. If I don’t connect, I set it aside and try again later. Sometimes I never do connect, and that’s all right too. Thank you for reading this post and commenting.

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  62. Linda! Congrats for making it on Freshly Pressed, I am so happy for you, it couldn’t have come at a better time, hope lots of people read your Brevity of Roses first chapter because it is awesome.

    I hardly read nowadays, I’m ashamed to say that since starting my novel, back in 2009, I’ve only read perhaps 5 books a year. I haven’t got the time at the moment. Before that, I was reading 2 or 3 books a month…sigh, one day, I will get back to reading more…

    Oh you know, I’m jumping up and down in joy that you’re freshly pressed…

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    1. Alannah: Another familiar face, yay! Actually, quite a lot of these Freshly Pressed visitors have clicked over to read my sample chapter. And 50 of them have subscribed to my blog! So I’m jumping up and down too! 😀

      And I believe we’ll get back to reading when it’s time.

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  63. The problem I have isn’t so much the time to read, but how selective I must be in what I read. I find that I can’t pick up my trashy thrillers any more without having the bad writing influence my output. It’s sort of like an athlete not gorging on cupcakes while he’s training for the big race. http://agentsofgoldstein.wordpress.com/

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    1. Agents of Goldstein: It’s good that you know you have that problem. Myself, I doubt bad writing would influence me for the very reason that I recognize that it’s bad. Though we never know about the subconscious, do we? 😉 Thank you for reading and commenting.

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  64. Why the numbers treadmill? Your totals sound near mine…and mine may even be less. While I am getting better at sneaking in a chapter here and there as time permits, why stress it? Sometimes the best inspiration and insight comes from simply living life and letting go of the murky figures (unprofitable expectations) taxing our brains. I am working on my first fiction and non-fiction novel, and I enjoy reading a great deal. Keep reading – yes! But spend your life trying to measure up to someone else’s successes – no! Be the envy of the world by lighting it with love, life, and laughter and a nose that is keen to the smell of roses outside of the covers of a book. 🙂 Best wishes.

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    1. Amanda: True, it’s pointless to compare ourselves with others. In my case, it’s not to reach some arbitrary book count that I want to increase my reading, but simply because I miss reading. Thank you for reading and commenting.

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  65. I’ve been struggling with my reading lately. It’s a problem. I find I’d much rather write. I’m a professional writer, normally I document computer software, but my passion and most of my spare time are consumed with fiction writing. One of the things I’ve found, however, is that I have “style drift” issues. Whatever I read seeps into my writing. Not the actual content, mind you, but the style of the author tends to affect my own style. I find myself writing like the authors I read. This disturbs me.

    Because of this, I’ve taken a break from reading while I write. The style I’ve developed isn’t one I want to pollute. But is it a good style? I have no idea. How can one ever know the quality of their own writing style? Others must judge it. You cannot judge your own. And I seldom submit my work anywhere – it’s always in the process of “not quite being ready.”

    I miss reading. I think I need to take a break and read a few books. Maybe one of my own.

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    1. writerdood: Reading all these comments has been an eye-opener for me. I didn’t realize so many writers had that problem. I can see why you’d stop reading while you’re writing. Oh, I’m sure you’ll read your own work. If you’re like me, you’ll read it until you’re almost sick of it. 🙂 But it takes that many times to polish it … at least it does for me. If you can find a good critique group, or even one other writer to exchange work with, it will help you grow and gain confidence in your writing. Thank you for reading and commenting.

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  66. I’ve never kept track until this year. I’m doing a reading challenge to read 52 books this year. I can say for sure I’ve never read that many in a year before. I’m a pretty leisurley reader so I would never finish a book in a week unless it was less than 200 pages, but I’m doing pretty well with this challenge. I should make the mark.

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  67. I am constantly reading! I read anywhere from 2 to 5 books a month, and that doesn’t count what I read to my 3-year-old son. When I am really into whatever I am writing, it is closer to 2 books in a month. To help me keep up with that reading, I signed up to review books for a couple of websites. Reading helps me to be able to know what I should write about and to tell how what I am writing compares to what is being published.

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    1. Lynn: That’s another good reason I need to read more, to keep in touch with what’s being written. But mostly, I just find it inspires me to write more and better. Sounds like you’ve found a good way to increase your reading. Thank you for reading my post and commenting.

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  68. I completely agree with the problem of being a writer. It’s only gotten worse now that I’m in college. I am lucky right now if I read one or two fiction books a year. Wish I could read more, but by the time I do homework, write, watch TV with my sister, and all the other important tasks of life, there is no time left for reading. 😦

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    1. Abigail: I can imagine how busy you must be with school, and I’d expect that some day you’ll find time to read again. Do what you can, and don’t worry about the rest. 🙂 Thank you for reading and commenting.

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  69. I’ve been having this very conversation lately with a few folks. I wish I could read more. Audiobooks save me as I commute a lot. My desire to read is another reason I ditched cable a while ago. Even if I could get through all the work and writing I want to get through, I need to be devouring books rather than being drained by TV. Great post.

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    1. educlaytion: I envy that you can listen to your audiobooks. I’ve tried, but my mind wanders. I guess I need visual words to anchor me. And I found the more I wrote, the less TV I watched. It’s more fun to make up my own stories. 🙂 Thank you for reading and commenting.

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  70. I’ve only recently started scheduling my reading time, but it’s taking me some time to get into the habit of setting everything down to read actively. Before, like many of your readers, it was a ‘read at night time,’ or ‘read whenever my brain was getting flustered with something’, or ‘read on the train to where-ever’ sort of activity for me. I still do all of those things, but now I’ve added that active reading element to my day, and that’s mostly for educational and non fiction stuff. As for my volume, I have no idea! Counting by the books at the side of my bed, it would seem I’ve read 9 books from the end of January to now…and yes, I already know I have trouble putting things away…

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  71. Seventy or eighty books a year doesn’t sound like a slow reader to me! I’d be very happy if I could get that done.

    I’m in my third year of an English Writing degree, and I find that if I don’t read books–lots of them!–my writing suffers as well. Seems like a funny paradox, but I have to make the time to read something OUTSIDE textbooks, and then the rewards really do pay off.

    Congrats on being Freshly Pressed!

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    1. elenafultz: I agree, 70 or 80 books a year is fantastic to me. I understand completely what you said about reading paying off. Thank you for reading and commenting.

      And thanks. It’s been an exciting day. 🙂

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  72. I don’t really read that many books, you see. So every1 sayz that if u don’t read many books ur writing will not be that good. Is that true. And I really can’t schedule my time properly coz im so busy.

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  73. This is an amazing post hon. I agree 100% with everything you said. I am an avid reader & what I want to be more than anything in the world is an author. I am a very fast reader (I can read an 800 page novel in 1 day) and on average I would read between 100-130 books a year. Most of them being fiction novels, the classics, and required reading for school. I have begun to write everyday to get a creative flow for writing a novel. I write for an hour and a half to two hours a day, and I read whenever I have free time, and until I can fall asleep.

    I started writing about 2 years ago, and now I only read up to 45-60 books on average for each year. Which I know may be a lot by someone elses standards, but by my standards it’s not a lot at all. So what I did was join an online book club group, and it has helped me bring my reading average up a bit 😀

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  74. I had to do some estimating, but I’m pretty sure I average 4 books a month, which adds up to 48 a year – give or take a few. I write during the day because that’s when I’m creative, but I read myself to sleep at night. I never really feel like the two interfere with each other (unless I’m having a particularly bad day).

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  75. I usually read about 100 books a year. Last year, 59. This year: 2 so far. My writing may be improving, but I miss reading. Or actually, I miss *wanting* to read. Now I tend to want to know what’s going to happen in my story, so I write instead… =)

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    1. DrawReadWrite: Your last line sounds familiar! 🙂 That’s exactly why my reading dropped so low. I think I need to fill-up a bit again and that’s why I want to read. Thank you for reading and commenting.

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  76. I find that once you start writing, it’s harder to just become absorbed in a book without thinking about sentence structure and different ways the author could have phrased things and so on. It’s irritating when your mind keeps interrupting your reading to point out something about the writing. Not that I know too much about this, as I am not a writer and haven’t blogged in a while.

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    1. pixiealamode: That’s exactly what happens when I read … or else I get inspired and put the book down to go write something. 🙂 When I get so lost in reading that I forget to “edit” I know it’s a GOOD book! Thank you for reading and commenting.

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  77. I think I read 1-2 books a week, on average, mostly fiction, but some non-fiction (I like biographies). In a week where I have lots of time/inclination, I can read 3-4 books, but that’s not my normal average. Of course, I’m not a professional writer, either. It never occurred to me that if you write for a living you have less time to read, but it makes sense. Seems sad, though. Most of the writers I’ve met love reading and it must be hard having less time to do something you love.

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    1. jule1: It is hard. If I’d given it a thought, I would have realized that I’d have to share my reading time with writing. Ebb and flow. I think it’s time to read a little more now. I’d be thrilled to read even 1 book a week, so you’re doing great to me. Thank you for reading and commenting.

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  78. Right there with you. Since I started writing novels my reading has nosedived. I read over 100 books last year. So far this year I have read 9. I keep finding myself having issues with writing style of different books, that and the utter glut of horrible paranormal and vampire novels that are filling the shelves everywhere right now.

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    1. “that and the utter glut of horrible paranormal and vampire novels that are filling the shelves everywhere right now.” – I couldn’t possibly agree more with that! To be honest, I actually enjoyed a few vampire novels [while they weren’t filling every shelves at bookstores…], but now I just can’t stand it anymore!

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    2. Selfmanic: Wouldn’t you say your years of reading have prepared you to write? You’re filled up with words and now it’s time to release some of them. Good luck on your writing. Thank you for reading and commenting.

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  79. I read a lot but not necessarily novels. I’ve been studying this year and I have been reading chapters of books related to this. We have a forum and I respond with ideas and interact with other students. I read for different purposes but I wish I had more time to just read for pleasure. I have always been more of a writer than a reader, and I don’t like to think about how much I devote to each. I can’t pick up a book without a pencil in my hand, in the same way I need to write about what I see around me. I prefer reading when I’m outdoors on the move where there are no distractions and write when I’m indoors because no one can budge me even if they tried. I love reading when I travel on the train or plane, and when on a nice quiet beach. So I guess, that’s how I divide my time to read and time to write. Great subject, Thanks!

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    1. traveliterature: Your method sounds great to me. I’ve read whole novels on plane trips, but I regret that I can’t read on long car trips because of motion sickness. And “a nice quiet beach” sounds so good to me right now. 🙂 Good luck on your writing. Thank you for reading and commenting.

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  80. I’ve been averaging about 70 books per year, that I read. Mind you, that was up until last year, when I only worked part-time. Now that I have a full-time job, I have a feeling that my yearly total will be slightly less (unfortunately). LOL. Ah well. The sacrifices we make, eh? 😉

    ~MizB

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  81. Man. Everybody else’s comments makes me feel like I’m slacking. I want to say I read about 10-15 books a year. Once upon my youth it that used to be 20-30.
    I’d like to blame the real world, but for some reason, since graduating ten months ago, I haven’t been much in a reading mood. I’ll start books, but finishing them is another thing.

    Excellent question to ask the reading/blogging world.

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  82. I wish I could create a schedule for anything, and stick to it! I spend my days saying “i’ve got to do this, or that” and, usually, the week finishes and I haven’t done a single thing!

    Yes, I think it’s quite hard to manage reading and writing time but, honestly, try to imagine managing writing and drawing time, when you’re attending at a design course at college [yes, that’s exactly what I try to do! 😉 ]

    Great post and, of course, congratulations on being Freshly Pressed !

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    1. arosedavidson: I think most writers are trying to juggle time. I’m always amazed to hear writers with small children talk about trying to find enough time to write. That they find ANY time to write is commendable. That’s when I read. I put off writing until my sons were grown. Thank you for reading and commenting.

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  83. I have no idea how many books I read a year. I do read a lot, and write a lot, although it’s not quite to publishing level yet. I think there’s no better way to learn to write than reading, so I read the kind of books I like to write. Plus, reading is just my favorite activity. I could never give it up.

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    1. katblogger: I agree with you that writers need to read … and so does Stephen King in his On Writing. Maybe some can’t read at the same time they’re writing, but surely reading is what inspired them to write. And I can’t imagine it not being an ongoing inspiration. Keep on reading and writing and you’ll get there. 🙂 Thank you for reading and commenting.

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  84. I read quite a bit, but lately, the only books I read are related to my field of study. I would say I read about 10-12 books a year, and I am happy with that. I too aspire to be published, but I also wish to succeed in my studies as well….

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  85. I find that extremely hard to believe but I guess it could be true. I am an 11-year-old and when I was 10, I read over 120 books in one school year. I am an advanced reader (for my age and maybe even for middle school) and I love to write. I don’t write on a daily basis though.

    I

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    1. futureyears2: I assume what you found hard to believe was that I read 72 books in one summer. That’s only 6 books a week, when I had nothing else to do all day. And I certainly wasn’t reading War and Peace. 🙂 If you’re an advanced reader and you’re already writing, you might have a writing career ahead of you. Thank you for reading and commenting.

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  86. I am an aspiring writer and I must admit I have read books less as I work on my own publication. Sometimes it get under my skin that I am not reading some nice juicy book curled up in a corner. But I am so focused on my; that I just don’t MAKE the time.

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    1. Jacquie: I sympathize. But I don’t think it’s uncommon to drop off on reading while you’re deep into writing. Especially not the first draft. I hope you find a lull to fill with a book. Thank you for reading and commenting.

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  87. I was just discussing this with a local author whom I was interviewing today. She devours books, too and I confess that even as a writer, I don’t read near as much as I should. Guilty! In a year, I doubt I truly complete more than one or two books from cover to cover. I DO read news articles a lot though to stay abreast in my field. Thanks for this post because it reminds me that I need to read more (once I finish grad school).

    Meredith
    http://www.thissideofthecreek.com

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  88. I don’t count how many books I read a year. I check them out at the library and turn then in when I am done. You can get the books on CD and listen to them if you don’t have time to read. Put them on and listen and do other things too.

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    1. Connie T: I’m a fan of libraries, but I can’t do the audiobook thing. My mind wanders and I realize I’ve missed whole “pages”. It works for a lot of people though. Thank you for reading and leaving a comment.

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  89. Writing leaves (for me) little time for reading… but since I got the nook color I’ve been making a better effort to read more and more. I haven’t bothered to really count but I do know that in the last 2 months I’ve read at least three which considering previously I had gone months at a time without reading, this seems better. To answer your second question… I don’t plan out reading or writing… when I feel like doing either is when I do.

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    1. A.J.Race: I think e-readers have increased reading for a lot of people. Fortunately, I almost always feel like writing, so I never need to plan that out. 🙂 Thank you for reading and leaving a comment.

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  90. Before I had kids I read over 65-85 books per year. Now, I’m down, but I still read more than 45. I miss the days of reading a book a day, especially when it wasn’t Dr. Seuss. Great post.

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  91. I’d say I read about 20 books per year- not including text books for university. I always start the year (or the summer) with such high expectations and towering ‘to read’ lists. My momentum throughout the year comes and goes in sporadic bursts- one month I’ll have my nose in a book every other minute, while at other times I won’t pick one up for a couple of months.
    My real problem is not being a slow reader, but a slow writer. I definitely need to start reading more ‘writing’ books. Any suggestions?

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    1. louisesmithers: I guess we all have our reading spurts. As for writing books, well, there’s a tab at the top of this page labeled Books for Writers with some good how-to books. Better than how-to’s, I find a lot of inspiration from Anne Lamott’s Bird by Bird and Stephen King’s On Writing. Thank you for reading and leaving a comment.

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  92. Great, now I’m depressed. I used to be one of those “a-book-a-day” readers, and then I went to college. Heck, I don’t have time to read OR write these days. I’m a Junior now, and between college, teaching, and working, I bet I don’t read more than a dozen books a year. And only about two of those are read between the months of September and May. I cling desperately to the notion that I’ll start reading again when I graduate, but all this talk about time-sucking children leaves little room for hope. So here I am, 21 years old, looking forward to retirement so I can finally read again. That’s going to be one heck of a to-be-read stack!

    Thanks for he great post, depressing though it may have been…

    No, seriously. Thank you.

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    1. leahrayanne: That wasn’t the case for me. I read like crazy when my children were growing up. I don’t believe I could have written then, but read? Heck yeah. Every day. So take heart. 🙂 Thank you for reading and leaving a comment.

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  93. I do think you need to have an addiction in writing and not so much in reading. In my MFA program we were quick to make the distinction between a lit person and an MFA person. And though I think prose models are important to investigate and model our work after, I do think writers make a decision–or at least I made a decision–to spend more time typing and re-reading drafts. My girlfriend says she has a need to read and soak up stories rather than try to get down her own. And I have to say I would rather get my stories/notes down that read another’s.

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    1. John Paul: Obviously, the more hours a day you spend writing, the fewer you have for reading, but I think it’s possible to do both. For me it’s necessary. I need to refill from time to time. Good luck on your writing. Thank you for reading and leaving a comment.

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  94. I loved everything about this post. I understood everything! I personally devour books, but my writing interrupts my reading, and vice-versa. I have absolutely NO IDEA how many books I read in a year, but it is probably a big number. Being the top reader at my school, I have a reputation to keep and can’t stop reading for more than a day.

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  95. Only 18 books a year? That’s fabulous – way more than the national average. I’m a writer, too, and it takes me about six weeks to finish a fiction book. So that’s 8 or 9 a year.

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    1. greencat365: Really? What’s the average? It’s all relative, I guess. Compared to my usual reading, 18 is pathetic. But maybe that’s the best I can expect now that I’m writing full-time. Thank you for reading and leaving a comment.

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  96. Now that I have an infant… I have no time to read! I don’t think I’ve read a single book since my little girl was born 5 1/2 months ago. And the books I look at are mostly about parenting…

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  97. I thought I would read more once I retired and also when I no longer subscribed to the New Yorker, but neither is true. My reading activities have diminished markedly and wasting time has increased exponentially. Nonetheless I am having fun wasting time and when I do read, I try not to read junk (except for every once in a while).

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    1. breeze: To everything there is a season, and sometimes we can’t see what season we’re in until after the fact. The important thing is you’re having fun. 🙂 Thank you for reading and leaving a comment.

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  98. I never really kept track until I found goodreads.com
    If you haven’t heard of it I’d recommend to check it out! They have pretty much every book ever written so you can keep track of everything you’ve read and find other great books to read 🙂

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  99. I wish I had Stephen King’s problem, if being a slow reader meant I’d average 70-80 books a year!
    I used to read books all the time when I was a kid but you’re right, once you start writing for real reading time cuts WAY back. Reference books I just read what I need, and fiction mostly only when I plan on reviewing it. I have more books than I’ll ever get through and yet for some insane reason I keep buying more! I’m addicted to books, what can I say? (But hey, there are worse addictions to have!) As for how many I actually read a year? Hmmm…I’ve never actually kept track. Ask this question again in 2012 and I’ll let you know!

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  100. I totally feel you! I’m a high school student and I’m often busy with extra-curricular activities alongside keeping my GPA high, but only recently have I noticed a decline in my reading habits. Last year I read 146 books (I was a freshman, go figure), but this year I’ve only read about 20.

    As a future English major and aspiring novelist, I’m interested as to how authors manage to keep their reading and writing time balanced. It must be difficult.

    And like many other of the people who have commented on this post, I also have a Goodreads profile. It’s very helpful for keeping track of books and communicating with other book lovers.

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    1. Thomas: It’s been exciting to hear from young writers today. I wish you much success. I’m still learning my way around Goodreads, but I think it’s great. Thank you for reading and leaving a comment.

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  101. I’ve had the same problem. Usually after work I have so many things I want to finish, the end of the day gets crunched. I have found I have to write every day, even if it is only for fifteen minutes, or I never finish anything.

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  102. I average about 3 – 6 books per week, between e-books, print and audio. Since I started my blog, that has been reduced to about 3 per week. I keep track of all of my readings on goodreads.

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  103. I know exactly how many books I’ve read this past year, since I bought all but four through the Nook application on my phone. The grand total is just 28. I don’t feel bad about that though. I work, play, and overall enjoy life. Sure, escaping into a book is fun, but too much of that leads to too little living…be careful!

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    1. JM: No, you shouldn’t feel bad about that total. We have to have a balance for sure, but I’d say that the authors of those 28 books you read, weighted their time heavily toward writing. 🙂 Thank you for reading and leaving a comment.

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  104. Despite the long list of books I’d like to read, I have in fact read none of them. I’ve literally read about 4 books in my life time. That may sound absurd for an aspiring writer, but I write as if I have read every book I need to. I’ve begun writing a novel and make regular blog posts without reading in between.

    At 19 it’s difficult to find the time and patience to read. Dividing time between video games, university, drinking, watching television, mindlessly gestating in front of the internet and writing my own projects is a tough task. Having said that, I have read two books recently – Roy Peter Clark’s Writing Tools and Dave Mustaine’s A Life in Metal. Two very different books indeed…

    There’s a whole host of books I have bookmarked for the future. Science-fiction and dystopian fiction are particularly interesting to me. I’ve bought many of the books I intend to read, but they just lay dormant on my shelves while I rattle off comments like this and kill people online. I’ll read them one day. I swear I will.

    Mac.

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    1. Mac: Hmmm. Well, I’ve never had the pleasure of polling a number of great writers about how many books they’ve read. But if not reading works for you, it works. I wish you success. Thank you for reading this post and commenting.

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  105. Since I get stuck in traffic every morning, I listen to books on CD. Don’t know how many I’ve read this year yet. I love to write also and hope to finish something to publish. My problem is that I read a lot of fiction and not much non-fiction.

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    1. Missey: I think most writers read what they write, so if you’re writing fiction, you’re all right. And that’s a great use of your commute time. 🙂 Thank you for reading this post and commenting.

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  106. Lately, my method of gathering reading material is this: I go the library and look over the new books. I pick up as many interesting ones as I can find, check them out and read them until I run out of renewals. Then I return them and repeat the process. The number depends on how long the books are, or how many I find. I just picked up a batch of six.

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    1. acleansurface: As a writer who hopes everyone buys my books, I have to say I’m a proud library patron. I could never have afforded to buy even a third of the books I’ve read so far. And yes, I renew regularly. 🙂 Thank you for reading my post and commenting.

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  107. I try to read as often as possible. Normally when I am up late at night and can’t sleep I squeeze in a few chapters. My writing classes at school require me to write – since I’m working towards my English Writing major – so I write several pages a day. Realistically, I would like to write more for pleasure.

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  108. I read 9.5 books last summer and this summer I plan to read 20. I’m a college student and extremely busy, so 20 is really high for me. Especially with the interference of Dyslexia…

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  109. This year I have just finished ONE so far. Schiff’s _Cleopatra_. With two small children, I’m just too tired to see straight. Hopefully, as I begin Dubus’ _Townie_, the pace will pick up. I used to hit about 15 or so a year, plus whatever I was teaching, plus the New York Times “Weekender.”

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  110. The past 2 years or so I’ve been starting to a lot more than I had been previously, even with reading largely epic fantasy books that are typically well over 600 pages each. Since December I’ve read at least 20 books (I might be forgetting some) and that’s while attending school and working most nights. I’ll be able to keep track of how many books I’ve read this year better since I started keeping my blog here, where I’m writing reviews for all the books that I read.

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  111. Since I made a commitment to write, I rarely read anymore. I used to read 50 plus books each year, but now I barely manage 20. Like you, most of the books I find myself reading are craft related. I miss reading, but the satisfaction I get from writing a good story makes up for it.

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  112. I read a lot on blogs and scientific journals for my research. However I count “literature” separately. Here in Mexico the average is one (or even a bit less) book per person a year! Last year i read 7 and 8 or 9 the year before. Still I’d love to have the time to read more, maybe even write a little.
    Do you use shelfari? It is a nice tool to keep track of the books you read, your reading goals and even to interact with other readers and find out what they are reading. Google it if you aren’t using it yet, and no, I’m in no way affiliated with them.
    Nice post and congratulations on being freshly pressed!

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    1. Joaquin: Good to hear you’re surpassing the national average in reading. I don’t even know what the average is here. I’ve heard of Shelfari, but never been to the site. I use Goodreads, which sounds like the same sort of thing. Thank you for reading my post and commenting.

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  113. depends on what you write. I’m working on historical fiction so it’s absolutely necessary that I do loads of reading. It seems like the research/reading to writing ratio is about 3 days in the library per paragraph.

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    1. S G Nelson: I did a lot of research for Brevity, but nothing like what you’re doing. I’ll confess, that amount of research is why I’ll never write historical fiction. 😉 I wish you success. Thank you for reading my post and commenting.

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  114. I’m so glad I stumbled upon your blog! I’ve always been a voracious reader, but once I started writing my own novel, I lost my reading mojo. Thank goodness for book clubs – mine keeps me reading and holds me accountable.

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    1. Kimberly: I’m glad you stumbled too. 🙂 A book club probably wouldn’t work for me because I rarely read what everyone else is reading. Now maybe if I could pick the books … 😉 Thank you for reading my post and commenting.

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  115. UGH. I’m ashamed of myself. Since I’ve been living in New York (for way too long), I find that I read *mostly on the subway… and very slowly. I used to read a hundred books a year maybe, maybe more. My primary demon, though, is the Internet. How much do I read on here that settles into the mush of my consciousness, while I’m thinking about what I’m going to read next? I’m going to log off read some fiction. *Thank you*

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    1. Anonymous: I hope you enjoyed your fiction. I agree, the internet has stolen my reading time. Yet, I need to be on here for my career. I just need more hours in the day. 🙂 Thank you for reading my post and commenting.

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  116. I probably average 2-3 books a month depending on the size. My reading time for books is mostly before bed or if I know I will have a waiting period somewhere, kids, Dr. appointments etc. Currently I am 455 pages into an 800 page book. I read techno thrillers, history, military and religious. Along with my blog (not much there) and reading other blogs and commenting during the day.
    Good luck with your writing. I don’t figure to write much. Congrats on being FP!

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  117. Hi.
    I don’t read nearly enough. And when I do, it’s usually a page here and there before I start daydreaming about what I’d do with the story.
    I’d rather write than read, though. And I do manage to get that in a lot. And of course, there’s writing about writing, like on my blog…which I’m sure you realize takes up a fair amount of your reading time as well…

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    1. Chris: “… before I start daydreaming about what I’d do with the story.” Spoken like a true writer! 🙂 And yes, writing and writing about writing both take up reading time. But we have to write, don’t we? Thank you for reading my post and commenting.

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  118. I get in these moods where I want to read, and lately I’ve been in a dry spell where I haven’t really felt like reading anything for months and months. I used to be good about reading, but when I’m writing, or I’m working a lot, I just don’t seem to have the time/energy to do it.

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  119. I have a general long-term goal that I must read at least 50 books a year. This is largely because I tend to read and then reread twice, so it takes about a week per book. Unfortunately, it is also a good part of the reason that I can’t finish my book.

    Congratulations on being Freshly Pressed, by the way! 🙂

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    1. patientes: Are you saying you read a book three times in one week?! And essentially a book every week? I hang my head in shame. But then again, I’m happy I finished my book. 🙂 Thank you for reading my post and commenting.

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  120. Nice post! I am a teenager who wants to be an author someday. I write non-stop (annoying my friends in class); I read anything I can get my hands on (even a Physics textbook; mind you, my grade doesn’t even cover that subject yet), and that has earned me an award for reading the most books in my school. I read maybe 5 books a month. I’ve been writing a book and I really want to get published… Maybe someday I’ll be an author like you! I’ll check out your book once it hits Asian shores! 🙂

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    1. creativeconfessions: It sounds like you’re willing to work hard, so you’ll do well. If you’re writing “non-stop” you’re way ahead of the game. Good luck. 🙂 Thank you for reading my post and commenting.

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  121. I have had the same issue with music. I used to listen to so much music, now I am always trying to compose and I rarely listen. Thing is, it has always been the listening that inspired so much of my composing!

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    1. Brendan: That is the same issue. It’s sort of puzzling, isn’t it? Music also used to inspire me to write, but I rarely listen to it now. All this discussion today makes me want to explore this connection between inspiration and creation more. Thank you for reading my post and adding your thoughts.

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  122. I love to read! Sadly it’s not near what I’d like it to be. I only average a book a week. That’s just all the time I have for reading though. I couldn’t imagine trying to read that much while writing full time as well. As much as reading would inspire, I would fear it would conflict with writing as well. Best of luck!

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  123. Gosh I have no idea how many books I read a year….I do know that I read 2 in the last week but I have my spurts. Loved this post! It so spoke to me. I always wonder how to juggle reading and writing time. Don’t want to neglect either of my loves.

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    1. bookjunkie: Well, after reading and responding to all these comments today, I know the secret is finding a balance that works for you. I’ve never been good at that on anything, as I tend to get totally immersed in one thing at a time, but I guess I have a new goal. Find the balance. 🙂 Thank you for reading my post and commenting.

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  124. Awesome post! I’ve started reading Kristen Britain’s books which are fiction/fantasy. I want to be able to write a cool book some day, and Kristen is my inspiration.

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  125. Do books on tape count? If so, then I’ve read one so far this. Since I started blogging, read has fallen by the wayside, I’m sad to say. So I listen while out walking my dog. Rest of the time I’m glued to the computer, either at work or blogging at home. Sigh. Your post is my wake up call. Must find time for reading.

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    1. monicastangledweb: Certainly books on tape count. “Glued to the computer” sounds all too familiar. I get up and walk away and within ten minutes I’ve found a reason to get back on. 😦 Speaking of which, I should get off here now and start my bedtime reading. 🙂 Thank you for reading and commenting.

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  126. I try to read as many books as I can–including all the manga and comics from the library.

    This–apart from my writing schedule; which has as many ups and downs as Wall Street in any given week of the month. ^_^

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  127. Welll, reading books is important to write correctly. I start reading at 16 years old. Now after 20 years I’m still reading and I started writing too. I’m looking for my publisher for my book. I hope to find it as soon as 🙂 . Good luck to you too.

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  128. Dearest Linda,
    I stumbled upon your wordpress page, and found myself in the middle of a mature group of women writers, thank you for that. It’s life giving me a new group to share ideas with. I stopped reading anyting but reality since 2004, when I took on my spiritual journey with my first ‘Self management leadership course’ and Raja yoga meditation practise. Since then I’ve found that being frank and honest to myself really helps me see thigns clear. I recently started reading fiction again. The Forgiven was an amazing confrontation with human misbehaviour and the lies we tell ourselves, Hollywood wise but also humanwise.
    Can I quote you on facebook? I look forward to linking with you. Keep on writing and blogging!

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  129. Well, as a student studying English and German I have to read a lot. I also like reading books which are not on my reading list. Honestly, I need to read some fiction, too, otherwise I’d go insane between all those course books. So, reading plays a big role in my “job” as student that’s why the books on my reading lists count more than 100 (apart from that, I definitely did not read every book listed) and then there would be all those other books, mostly fiction, which I read almost just during my train rides to university. As a result, I’d say I’ve read about 50 books in the last semester. Lots of them I had to read and some were pretty easy to read, and the page numbers were not too much, just like Daisy Miller. And apart from this comment, you have a pretty nice blog.

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  130. I don’t know how many books I read in a year but I can tell you that I read an average between 2 to 4 books (occasionally up to 5 or 6) a week and I tend to read mostly in the evenings before calling it a night. The last book I recently read (and enjoyed) is called The Genesis Plague by Michael Byrnes and I am waiting to get my hands on a new James Rollins novel coming mid or late 2011.

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  131. Good luck in changing something 🙂

    If you write and you’re good at it, why do you read books about how to write? I mean.. it’s not something you can totally learn from books – then.. we would all be writers, wouldn’t we?
    Maybe you read them, to become better and better. But still, I don’t understand why so many 😛 Just write, if you have the gift, the inspiration and it ends up well.
    Then you will have more time for the “normal” books 🙂

    I don’t know how many I read per year, but not as many as I wish.. Life is so full and “fast”, that if we wouldn’t read at the subway or in the bus… we wouldn’t read so much at all.

    Irina (Bucharest, Ro.)

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    1. aripidezapada: I rarely read books about writing, except for inspiration. Writers understand writers, and sometimes just reading what others say about writing clarifies and inspires. “Talking shop” is something all craftsmen do. That said, I don’t believe I read a single “writing” book last year.

      And yes, we need to take advantage of those few “quiet” moments to read whenever and wherever. Thank you for reading my post and commenting.

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  132. I probably read about 10 books a year (pathetic). I just started “Atlas Shrugged” by Ayn Rand; close to 1100 pages. It will take me 2 months. The problem many readers have is “distractions”. My reading time usually coincides with good TV, taking the dogs out, cooking, dessert, exercise, wife, etc. Right now, the only alone time I have is around 5 in the morning. I think it takes discipline. A serious reader or writer must set aside alone time, put a “Do not disturb” sign on the door and read or write for an hour or two each day.

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    1. TheRegularAmerican: You’re absolutely right about the “Do Not Disturb” sign when you write. Writing is work. And I suppose reading could be classified as research for that work, so yeah, hang up the sign. 🙂 Thank you for reading my post and commenting.

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  133. Don’t be too hard on yourself, reading is meant to be an enjoyable past time. If it begins to feel like a chore or a challenge the point is lost.

    After taking a writing course I was ashamed at badly I did not fit the well read ideal. After further thought though I decided I read fine when I have a true interest in what I’m reading 🙂

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    1. originalribenababy: I know what you mean. I used to fear being outed because I hadn’t read all the “important” books. I got over that. 🙂 We read what appeals to us. We write what appeals to us. It’s that enjoyment of reading that I miss. Thank you for reading my post and commenting.

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  134. I love reading, and I’ve been keeping track of it for a few years now.
    On average I manage to read about 50 books a year, thus one a week.
    It depends on how much free time I have, but usually I read before going to bed. In winter there’s also the buses and trams.

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  135. Hi, Linda

    I love to read and write, every year approximately thirty books should I read. and usually books of fiction and religious books. Currently I just published a book in Indonesian language, and was preparing for the next book.

    keep writing

    Usup Supriyadi, from Indonesia

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  136. Hi Linda,

    I never really keep track on how many books I read but yeah I hear you. Before kids I know I read more books than I do now. I join a book club so these days I read at the very least 12 books a year. I sometimes manage to sneak in another book here or there so maybe about 18-20 per year? I do use Goodreads just to keep track.

    Good luck with your writing. This year I’m making more effort to write more so hopefully that won’t reduce my book reading 🙂

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  137. The summer after fourth grade, my dad, while cleaning the attic or garage, came across a box of books. In it were (nearly) the entire series of The Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew. That summer I went through probably around 50 of these books. I even biked to the library to check out some of the missing volumes. Sadly, I don’t read a lot of books these days because of time. I still love reading books, but I read far more these days on a computer screen. Hard to quantify this!

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  138. Hello i found that i used to read a lot as child sometimes same book dozens of times after that it was when i was ill in bed a few times over the years when living on my own i have read a lot of books these days i feel i have to force myself to read even though theres loads of books i have on my shelf sometimes i find now i read a few pages from several books at same time with out finishing them. the last book i read all the way through was vulcan 607 but i think that was becuase i served on the same base as the person who roganised the raid on stanley he was in charge of my base. so i think sometimes the art to reading is it has to be relevant to your life in some way to get your interest.

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    1. 4valentines4words4poetry4you: That’s why I’m careful about giving a bad review for a book. I may not have liked it because it wasn’t relevant to me, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t a “good” book and relevant to many others. Thank you for reading my post and commenting.

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  139. Reading… I always say that one of my hobby is reading, but I don’t think I read much enough. I like writing too, but I didn’t write many stories (for example) either. But I still like those two activities. Reading printed books is fun, but I find much fun when I write blog postings. And when there are many visitors to my blog, wow… that’ll be cool. So, have fun reading and writing, and congrats for being published in freshly pressed 😉

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  140. I read a lot – but I don’t schedule it. I always carry a book with me, and I use what is otherwise ‘dead time’ to get some reading done (like waiting for the bus or standing in a long queue at the post office). It’s amazing how much you can get read in such circumstances!

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  141. hey 🙂 I’m a super fast reader, I read a book in say.. an evening? 4-5 hours? when I was a kid I would read every night, but my bedtimes were rather a lot earlier so I’d only manage 4 books a week, on average. Since coming to uni I’ve stopped reading, and dropped down to.. well, I can only say about.. 15-25 books so far this year, including non-fiction art nerd books, and since I’ve been getting ill-er, my determination to read has increased, so much so I read a YA book last night in less than 2 hours (Before I die, Jenny Downham) because I see reading as an escape from life, and, perhaps the less you’re reading, the more content with life you are? Or perhaps its all the other way round 🙂 G.W x

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    1. osftw: After reading through these comments, I’ve concluded that schooling is detrimental to reading. 🙂 I suppose in a sense reading is “an escape from life,” but in another sense it’s an examination of life. Sometimes we need to have an oblique view to really see. Thank you for reading my post and commenting.

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  142. Hi, Linda!
    Interesting post! Me neither, I have no idea how many books I read a year; but love reading.
    2011 has been a great year so far: am self publishg my first novel: Mevrouw Jane- in portuguese (I am brasilian, but live in Holand) -. It is an intimate novel, centered primarily around family problems. I wrote based upon not only my difficulties experienced in Holland. But also based upon the process of overcoming them all. For instance:
    • The conflicts around raising the Dutch stepsons,
    • Couple therapy – love-relationship,
    • Borderline Personality Desorder,
    • Loneliness due the loss of my whole family, baby.
    • My prizes at the Harvard University-USA.

    I hope to be publishing Mevrouw Jane in english as well. And who knows?! Maybe it is going to be one you would pick to read.
    Have a good one!

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    1. raleighdugal: I suppose reading choices depend somewhat on what you write. I don’t write “genre,” so the subject matter and style of the books I choose varies widely. There’s little chance that I would unintentionally mimic one in particular. Then again, you need to be familiar with books in your genre because you wouldn’t want to write a story too similar to one that’s just been published. A conundrum. 😉 Thank you for reading my post and commenting.

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  143. For me there is nothing fixed. Sometimes I might finish a novel in 2-3 days and then pick up another and finish it real quick too. Sometimes, a Novel never finishes. I started reading Ayn Rand’s- The Fountain Head back in December, for 2 weeks read it almost 2 hrs a day. Then things changed and went for vacations and got a pause. The pause is still there, have no idea when will I finish the book (if ever). I wish I could find some time out of my schedule, but its a bit tough for me. Happy Reading.

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    1. Manish: I have no compulsion to finish a novel I don’t enjoy, but I do have a few that I’ve set aside to finish later. Sometimes it’s just not the right time to read a particular book. Thank you for reading my post and commenting.

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  144. I haven’t read in a while, the only things I read right now are bridal magazines. Though I do have a big epub collection, because I have a nook! I am trying to finish Chelsea Handler’s book called my Horizontal Life. I know I can finish it in a day, but who has time?

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  145. Linda’s post and all the replies speak to the importance of reading to writing. If you want to write, you have to read. And not just how-to-write books. But the kind of fiction or non-fiction or poetry you’re trying to write. For inspiration and for ideas. I read mostly novels and short stories because this is what I write. I occasionally read non-fiction. I’m currently reading Amy and Isabelle: A Novel by Elizabeth Strout, which has taught me in a story that stays with one family in one community, and your’re writing in multiple-third person POV, you can zoom out from the one family to other ones and zoom back in–a very effective technique for context and comparison. I try to read for an hour everyday, from 6:00 to 7:00 pm, up in my study, on my Kindle, with a vodka and tonic and a small bowl of nuts. This way I manage to read around 20 books a year.

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    1. George: Obviously, I agree that writers must read. I question why someone would even be a writer, if they didn’t read. And of course, we learn writing from reading. I’d be surprised to find a good writer who wasn’t also an avid reader … though, at times, the work of writing must take precedence. 😉 I like your reading time ritual. Thank you for reading my post and commenting.

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  146. Hi
    I love reading and I did a sponsored read for comic relief. Over three
    days I managed to read 8 books but it would of been longer if I didn’t have school.
    A 200 page book would take me 2 hours on average and 500+ would be 1:2 days….
    People at school think I’m strange because they have probably never picked up a book in their life.

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  147. Hello.
    I always don’t know how many books I read in a year. But I like to read a book for several times. Maybe I think I’m not clever enough. So I want to know what they mean only by doing more reading them.

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    1. xuchjian: I think it’s a good idea to read a book more than once. It would be hard to get everything from one reading. And sometimes a book speaks differently to you at a later time in your life. Thank you for reading my post and commenting.

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  148. Your post lit a light bulb in my brain. My ‘recreational’ reading has slowed drastically. I say recreational, because I read all day at work, and I read fiction outside of work to relax. Until I read your post, I felt the slowdown was due to my not wanting to have the outside reading influence the fictional story I was writing. Currently, I read only one author and there is a long lag time between his works. Wait, only one author? I re-read your post and thought, ‘Steve, you have two books by other authors, sitting here partially read because you can not keep the interest level up. You pass up new books by authors you have read in the past for the same reason.’ No wonder book stores are closing, too many writers not reading.

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    1. stevesw: True. It’s sort of presumptuous to expect our work to be read, when we have no interest in reading others. With our limited reading time, we just have to choose wisely. Thank you for reading my post and commenting.

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  149. Interesting post, but why obsess over the number of books read as if it were a contest or something? Writing feeds the soul as much as reading. I have friends who collect books on their shelves like little trophies, like totems or touchstones that illustrate the breadth and depth of their knowledge. I try to give away every book I read; a book on a shelf is a book that is denied is purpose. Write as much as you can and read as much as you can. Stay away from dreadful, thoughtless pursuits like Facebook and Twitter. Talk to people, engage with them. Ten minutes of good conversation is many times as satisfying as a 500 page novel. Congratulations on being freshly pressed!

    –The Gassy Guy

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    1. James: I’m not obsessed over the number. I just know that reading is essential to my well-being, so I’m missing out on something when I’m not reading. I have never set a number of books I must read, and I don’t try to equal another reader’s number. I don’t give away all my books though. Except for the ones not read yet, I’ve reread every book on my shelves, some several times. And a good portion of my “library” is non-fiction for research. Thank you for reading my post and commenting.

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  150. Interesting discussion. Reading depends also on the weather with me. In winter i read more books, and in summer more online, or i’m using my iPhone. I also noticed that i read less after longer research for my blog posts. It can be pretty exhausting, depending on the theme, and also because english is not my mother language.

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    1. hipydeus: It makes sense that you need a break after research. I think we sometimes don’t recognize the cycles in our lives, and that applies to brain activity too. 🙂 Thank you for reading my post and commenting.

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  151. I love that Stephen King thinks 70-80 books a year is slow reading. But you know in order to focus on writing do kind have to limit your personal reading.

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    1. realanonymousgirl2011: I think prolific writers (and readers) like Stephen King operate on a whole different brain level than I do. 🙂 Yes, we do have to give up some reading time to write. Thank you for reading my post and commenting.

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  152. I just realized this week how little I’ve been reading since I started editing my manuscript!! It’s depressing. I’ve finished one book since the start of the year… so I decided to take a break and pick up a book from the pile of ‘need to reads’. 🙂 It woke me up to how much reading other fiction inspired me in my own! Not necessarily in the way of ideas, but just awakening the creative side of me. Now I’m trying to keep at least one fiction novel on my bedside table to pick up in every day.

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    1. Elli: That’s exactly my experience. 🙂 I think I become anxious and restricted in my writing when I don’t read enough fiction. Input and output are connected. Thank you for reading my post and commenting.

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  153. My only way to increase my totals of BOOKS read is to include the Bible Books I read – so with that said – each book in the Bible is it’s own book and I probably read about 36…
    Actual books that I’ve read yearly is probably about 4. I have a ‘nook’ which is supposed to HELP a non-reader read – but it’s not helping.
    I am not inclined to think of reading as a relaxing activity even though – IT IS when I finally do it. So I guess you would say I read 5 books a year. When my Mom was at the ER last week – I FINALLY finished two books on my ‘nook’ … whew! 🙂
    Happy reading – my daughter and son read as much as you do – although I do not enjoy reading – I read to them outloud b4 bed till the oldest was 12 ….

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    1. bevysthots: I’m sorry to hear you had to read in the ER. Though it’s hard for me to imagine, I know not everyone enjoys reading. I commend you for reading to your children though. 🙂 Thank you for reading my post and taking the time to comment.

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  154. i barely read as much as i used to!! i never have the time! especially now with my blog! Cuz now i fill my free time working on my posts!

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  155. Oh gosh. You read 14 fiction books last year? I am so jealous. I rarely have time to read anymore, and I’m not writing all the time. My yearly average is about 5 now. Though I do read more non fiction books for information, though rarely do I finish any of them. I guess when you write, you have to give up reading to some extent. I do not know how Stephen King does it.

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    1. Kate: I wish for you more time to read. I think the secret with Mr. King is that he is a man of “leisure” and has nothing at all to do each day but read and write. Or maybe he’s not quite human. 😉 Thank you for reading my post and commenting.

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  156. To be completely honest, I find it difficult to read between the lines in most cases. There are exceptions though. One of those books that totally fascinate me, is Irving Stone, Passions of the mind. It has , and will be one of my all time favorite. I will return here and appreciate the god read, best of wishes, africasiaeuro wordpressed

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  157. i don’t allot time to read or to write. I find that if I try I end up disappointing myself, which is not what I want to do. I have a hard time finding books, when I read one that deem to be terrific and a great read, I then struggle to find the next book which will ultimately have to be way better than the last. have been trying to write more as well and the more I write the less I read! Which is ok, I finally accepted the fact that I may not get to do everything I wanted to do in a day but I know that I accomplished something!

    Great post.. Happy reading/writing!!

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    1. Elizabeth: I don’t think I can force myself to read when I don’t want to either. And I know that feeling of finishing a great book and looking for another as good. Good attitude, do your best and be satisfied with that. 🙂 Thank you for reading and taking the time to comment.

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  158. I wish I had more time to read. I constantly want to improve myself and try to read as often as possible. I recently started listening to audio books at work and it’s working well for me. Growing up I didn’t read often. When my children came into this world I wasn’t able to go to the movies with my wife anymore so I started reading books which had popular movies in the theaters based on them. I then tried to watch the movies and I realized just how special reading books is. There is no substitute. Keep up the writing!

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    1. Dean: I am so often disappointed by movies made from books. I can get so much deeper into a book than a movie. I’ll keep up the writing and you keep up the reading! 🙂 Thank you for reading this post and taking the time to comment.

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  159. I must say: between school, my part time job and homeworks, the time i spend for reading is very low, I guess if I can make a better schedule on mi time I could write and read as many as I wish. 🙂

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  160. i don’t schedule at all, there’s even times when i only read like a few books (4 at best) a year, but i’m always taking information in from different mediums – AND i definitely don’t schedule reading time – it kinda just happens when it happens!

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  161. Oh gosh! I read like 90 books a year. I’m kinda guesstamating, but that’s a pretty factual amount… I think.
    I actually am a writer. I have nothing published, do to the fact that I’m 14 and full of wishful thinking, haha. But I love writing and I love reading. I write in the daytime and read before bed. Usually I read until I go crossed-eyed before shutting the light off and going to sleep like a responsible teenager would. lol
    I swear I’m not a nerd, but I definitely prefer reading and writing over watching movies. Anybody else feel that way?

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  162. Hi. This is a great post. I always wanted to write a novel, but I feel insecure do to the fact that I only read about 20-30 fiction novels in my whole life. ( I’m 29). I took a few creative writing courses in college and did really well, probably doesn’t mean much being that I attended a community college. I was just wondering what, if any, advice you would have for me.

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    1. illego: My advice is to write, write, write. That’s the best way to learn. Write from your heart, don’t worry about what others will think. You’ll find your voice, and then there will probably be no stopping you. And read books you love, no matter how slowly you read. You’ll learn much about writing from reading, even if you’re not aware of it. Good luck.

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  163. Ah, I remember the days of winning ribbons from my library’s summer reading program. Each week, I’d leave with a bag bulging with books and seemingly read day and night. Through college, reading didn’t need to be scheduled. It just happened as easily as I breathed. After losing too many years in work with no balance, I’ve found that scheduling reading is needed just as it is for my writing. This year, I set a goal of 50 books. Goodreads, where I’m tracking, has been kind enough to let me know I’m falling a little behind schedule. Yet with my now scheduled time each day, I at least have a plan of making it happen.

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    1. Barbara, I didn’t know you could set a goal at Goodreads. Though at this point, I don’t need any more pressure. 😉 Wasn’t the summer reading program wonderful? I didn’t grow up in a reading family, so I was sort of on my own. I felt like the library appreciated me. 🙂

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      1. I love how you said that Linda. “Appreciate” is the right word. My sister and I are both avid readers and our are parents are not. My mom would take us there and there were no limits. We could select and read anything. And she gave us the time to do it because she wished she’d had the same opportunity growing up.

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  164. you are really great reader of books. 72 books when you were only 10 /! Amazing. I couldn’t read so much. I now try to read some book for each month at least 2. That’s totall only 24 books. Can you tell me how to write for book reviews on blog or any “how to write” topics ?

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    1. Aisha: The free time I had for reading as a child is about ten times what I have now. I’m managing what you do now. 🙂 I don’t really know anything about book review writing, but if you look on the right-hand side of this blog you’ll see a list of categories I’ve blogged about. Look at my posts under “writing advice” and “writing tips.” Thank you for commenting.

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  165. I’m averaging about 0.75 books a week, putting me at about 40 books a year. I am a big believer of learning to write through reading. On weeknights, I try to set aside 45 minutes to and hour every evening to read.

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    1. Chris: I commend you for your diligence. I also agree that we learn to write from reading. In fact, I’m always amazed to hear any writer say they don’t read. I think for 99% of us, reading is what inspired us to write in the first place. Thank you for taking the time to read and comment. 🙂

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  166. Last year, I read about 10 books. All of them were fiction. I like reading fiction because they are less serious than non-fiction. Usually, I schedule my reading during vacations like Christmas and Summer.

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  167. I’ve been having this very conversation lately with a few folks. I wish I could read more. Audiobooks save me as I commute a lot. My desire to read is another reason I ditched cable a while ago. Even if I could get through all the work and writing I want to get through, I need to be devouring books rather than being drained by TV. Great post.

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