Writing–The Reading Requirement

Stephen King says that to be a good writer you must read a lot and write a lot.

I believe that.  His book On Writing is like a bible for me. I respect the man. I enjoy his work and his advice (and his sense of humor; I have endured many a dirty look from a cat startled awake by my cackling). Uncle Stevie has yet to steer me wrong. He’s an influence on me as a writer.

Which is why it pains me to say that I’m letting him down.

I will be the first person to admit that I have terrible reading habits. I like to read. I do. I enjoy it. My parents started me young. I learned to read at three and trips to the library were the highlight of the week during the summer (we read in the winter, too, but we got to walk to the library in the summer, therefore bigger deal). But no matter how much I read, I never got a good rhythm established.

I read in bursts. I can read two, three, four books a month for three months and then read nothing by writing magazines for three months. Then I might spend two months reading a book that would normally take me a week. Then I’ll got a month without reading anything deeper than baseball news.

It’s terrible.

I’m horrible with time management and even worse about setting aside time to read.  It’s far too low on my priority list. Growing up, reading was a downtime thing. You did it when you got everything else done. You did it to relax. It’s a mindset I can’t get out of now.

Reading is part of my job as a writer, but I have trouble getting that through my thick skull. I can’t rationalize reading when I have this, that, and the other to get done. So, I put off and the reading gets done in inefficient fashion.

It’s long past time to establish a better habit and to move reading up on the priority list. I’ll do it like I do most things, gradually so I make sure it sticks. The thinking behind this is by doing it slowly and giving myself time to adjust, it also gives myself time to change the way I think about reading.

That’s the key.

Transforming reading from a pastime to a job requirement.

Stories By The Number

Submitted: 2 (“Such a Pretty Face” and “Another Deadly Weapon”)
Ready: 4 (“Husband and Wife”, “Elevator”, “Bigger Than a Squirrel”, and “Erin Go Bragh”)
Accepted: 1! You can now read “Summer Rot” on Suburban Fool!

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