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. 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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  2. 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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  3. 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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  4. 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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