Books, Fiction, Life, Novel, Reading, Real Life, Writing

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. 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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  2. 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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  3. 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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  4. 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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