All writers should be readers first. Isn’t it usually a love for reading that makes a writer good at what they do? Many established and well known authors have said one of the keys to writing success is to read everything, and read often.
“If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all others: read a lot and write a lot.” – Stephen King
But here’s the problem – when you write full time, reading anything other than your own edits can slowly work its way down the To-Do list if you aren’t paying attention. I’ve gone months without reading for fun (in other words, reading anything that didn’t have to do with my own work), and I can tell you – it’s the fast track to burnout.
At the beginning of this summer I vowed to read as much as I could and I tried. I did. School was out, kids wanted entertaining and beach days, and the book I picked up before June started out great. But I only read it when I had five minutes here, ten minutes there. It took forever to get through this book, the entire summer actually. To be fair, I was reading more than one book at a time, a no-no for me. So fast-forward to one week ago. I finally sat down and finished the last half of the book in one sitting. I was so excited to have the next book that I immediately picked it up and read from late afternoon till 2am, when it was done. The next day I read the third.
I’m sure I didn’t get enough sleep last week from all the binge-reading, but wow, did it feel good! I have one left of this series to read, which is actually the 3rd published, but because it was the prequel to the original story, I skipped over it to read the 4th to stay with the original characters. I give myself three days to finish this book. I want to stretch it out a bit.
It’s proof to myself that reading while writing IS possible, and totally necessary. Every author has a style of storytelling, different from the rest. Every story is a glimpse into another life, another world. And I really missed getting lost in an alternate reality for a few days. Even the author brain needs a break from their own words. And reading is the best way to stay connected, yet fresh. If you write and haven’t finished someone else’s book recently, go read! Even if it’s just an hour or so a night before bed. It will feel good, I promise.
Oh, and the books I just gobbled up are the books of EMBER, by Jeanne DuPrau. I like YA Dystopian titles, and though the Ember books are technically for Middle Grade readers, these were great! I highly recommend the series to those who’ve not yet read it: The City of Ember, The People of Sparks, The Prophet of Yonwood, and the Diamond of Darkhold.
Now that I’ve finished this binge-reading session…what do I read next?!