Stephen King says, “If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all others: read a lot and write a lot.”
A side of Mr. King and Dave Berry you might not have seen before as they sing and play their little hearts out in the Rock Bottom Remainder band (to raise money for charities).
If anyone had asked me, over the past several years, I’d have said I’d read a lot of books. And it would be true. But being really honest, ninety percent of them were books on writing, marketing, social media, and all things related to the business of writing.
Sure, I seemed to go in streaks. I read a Carol Moncado series in a short period of time. I read The Morganville Vamprie series. And single, standalone books like The Martian, The Host, a few David Baldacci stories, and more. But when you add those kinds of books up over the past seven years, it’s not that many. Certainly not a book a month most of the time and sadly, not even close to some quality reading time every single day.
Periodically, I’ll realize my creative tank is running on fumes and I’ll binge read a book or few, but then it’s right back to business.
I’m determined to not let that happen again. I love reading. I have since I was in the first or second grade. Maybe earlier than that. I miss reading. And I’m going to make it a part of my daily life again.
For a while lately, I’ve been writing and taking story notes while my daughter and I run errands. It’s really interesting trying to write by hand in a notebook on Michigan
washboards roads. But I was getting a lot done. And when I wasn’t, I was reading … you guessed it, books on one part or another of the business.
But I’ve decided enough is enough. Reading for pleasure is critical for a writer. I mean critical.
Can you imagine trying to clean your house, do the laundry, or work your nine-to-five job if you never ate? Or slept? You might be able to do them for a few hours. Maybe even a day or so, but you can’t keep spending your physical energy without replacing it with new calories and nutrition.
That’s what trying to create stories is like for a writer who isn’t reading for pleasure.
And so I’m going to read books. I’m going to listen to books. Every. Single. Day. For the past several days, I’ve been listing to a long time favorite, Alas, Babylon (narrated by Will Patton – swoon! And that’s an affiliate link – click here to read more about them). I’ve also been reading the Kindle version of The Martian for the second time (another affiliate link but whoa! It’s on sale for $2.99 today!).
What are you reading? And how do you make sure to find time to read every day? Or at least often?