When do you find time to read?
September 21, 2012
I often wonder when people find the time to read. Then, I realize that many of us spend most of our working hours glued to a computer screen, processing words, writing and answering emails.
To be sure, this sort of day job requirement to handle words is one type of reading. But my question has more to do with reading for pleasure.
Do you have a set time when you lay aside the things of the every day world and journey into a land created from whole cloth by a writer? Is it time you steal on the subway? Do you listen to audio books during your commute to and from work? Do you settle into your favorite over-stuffed chair late in the evening after your chores are done with a Kindle in hand, or do you prefer to hold a paper book and crimp the pages as you go to mark your favorite passages?
For writers, reading represents a different challenge.
The more I have written, the more the way I read has changed. On the one hand, reading is a lifeline to writers. Reading what their colleagues have written provides both inspiration and training for us. To some extent it is a bus man’s holiday. Why did the author break the scene where he did? Why did he drop into description? How did he manage to get so much out of a few lines of dialogue? Can I visualize the character from the words on the page? Does the book read like a TV script, or like a tribute to the beauty of words? Is the book an example of writing for writing’s sake, or is it a fast-paced page turner where only the next unexpected plot twist matters?
On the other hand, for writers reading can be the most seductive Siren that draws us away from the hard work of writing. It is the easiest excuse to justify and the hardest addiction to break.
How long does it take you to read the sort of novel you enjoy? One long night when you don’t put it down until you finish it? A month of tiny sips as you savor each word? Do you read part of one book, jump to another, then work back and forth between them?
I imagine that most writers could cut their reading time in half and see a dramatic increase in their writing production.
That is if they wrote during that extra time.
So, tell me when you read and how you read. Paper books, eReaders, audio books or from a computer monitor using the Kindle app? Your fellow readers would love to hear about your routine.