Friday Fun is a group post from the writers of the NHWN blog. Each week, we’ll pose and answer a different, writing-related question. We hope you’ll join in by providing your answer in the comments.
QUESTION: It’s the biggest complaint I hear from writers. I don’t have time to read any books, they’ll say as they gaze at the novel in my hands. Okay, so fess up. Do you read on a daily basis? Do you find it important enough to schedule it into your day? (should you?)
Wendy Thomas: I’m a reader. Fortunately I’m the kind of reader that I can keep several books in the air at the same time (there’s my downstairs book, my car book, my bedside book, etc.) I try to get in at least 30 minutes of pleasure reading a day. If I get to do more then it’s a Red Letter Day.
Reading to me, is an imperative as breathing. Not only does it relax me (and it’s a great pain killer for those of us with winter-weather aggravated arthritis) but it keeps me aware of other writers’ different styles. I’m writing a parenting/chicken memoir, so I tend to read a lot in that genre but I also like to read general fiction. I’m currently reading Hope:A Tragedy which is one of the most insane books I’ve ever read. The voice is so strong that I can help but be impressed as I turn the pages.
Bottom line? Reading is an important part of my job as a writer and so I make time to do it. Every. Day.
Julie Hennrikus: I read a lot of business/arts admin/social media books, articles, blogs. But I don’t read enough for pleasure, and I miss it. My TBR pile (to be read) is a big one. And my Kindle is queued with a lot of reading for both pleasure and work.
Though my reading routine is off right now, reading is one of my greatest joys. Is there anything better than not being able to wait to get back to your book?
Deborah Lee Luskin: Is it pleasure or is it work? Is there a difference? I read all the time and it still doesn’t seem like enough. In addition to novels, I read non-fiction, web-content, the newspaper and The New Yorker, plus about a half-dozen alumni magazines that arrive quarterly, and any number of newsletters. I read these last at lunch (unless I get stuck on the crossword). I don’t have a TV and I go for months without watching films; the last thing I want to do after a day of writing is hang out with my computer.
Time is an issue, though, and some days I’m forced to choose: reading or exercise? Even if I choose a long walk, I inevitably open a book when I climb into bed. Often, the book stays open longer than my eyes.
Diane MacKinnon: Anything I can do one-handed, I’m likely to do with a book (or my Kindle, or my smart phone with the Kindle app) in the other hand. That used to by my little secret, until I read an interview with JK Rowling a few years ago and she said she did it, too. I used to burn a lot of stuff in the kitchen, so I learned to set timers. (Did you think I was going to say I learned to put the book down?) Anyway, I love reading and I read every day, even if only for a few minutes at a time. Those few minutes still add up to a book or two a week. Traveling alone on a plane is about the only time these days that I read for long stretches, but I look forward to it as much as the rest of the trip.
Lisa Jackson: I try to read every day, but sometimes the night arrives and my eyes can’t take any more. I have several books scattered about in various stages of being read. Magazines are great for short story reading and I seem to devour those a lot more lately than novels. Every other month or so I’ll take a Saturday and just read the entire day. I love getting into other worlds, even for a short time, it’s great for my fictional muse – she likes to get out and play with others.
Jamie Lee Wallace: As much time as I can. Though I cannot remember the last time I was able to curl up with a book for a good, long read, I do manage to get a decent amount of reading in most days. Because I’ve decided that audio books are not cheating, I count the time I spend listening to books (usually about 30 – 45 minutes each day while I walk or do house chores or drive) as reading time. Each night I read my daughter bedtime stories (15 – 20 minutes) and then read a bunch of blogs on my iPhone while I wait for her to fall asleep (another 15 – 20 minutes). Earlier in the evening, I am usually able to sneak in a few minutes (10 – 15) reading on my Kindle while I wait for my daughter to get out of the shower. (I manage to concentrate despite her gusty singing.) And, on a really good day, I forgo my love of TV as a way to unwind and opt instead to take a book to bed (usually about 30 – 60 minutes). SO … let me see … that means that I spend anywhere from one-and-a-half to three hours each day reading. Wow. Sounds like a lot! I guess I’m not doing so bad in the reading department!
Susan Nye: I love, love, love to read. There are books all over my house but I only read one at a time. I keep it close at all times and read when drying my hair, standing in the checkout line and eating lunch. Even if I only have a few minutes, I will almost always grab a book over a magazine or newspaper. I love fiction, memoir and when an author pulls me in, holds tight and doesn’t let go until the very last page.