Reading is Like Eating Chocolate & Losing Weight

Writing is a “Binge/Purge Situation.” Some of you may prefer the feast/famine expression, but either will work. As people with lives outside of writing, we’re limited on the time needed to pursue our dream of publication. For this reason, writing becomes a push (it aside) and pull (it back in front of you) part of life.

When you do have time, what do you attend to first? Aspiring writers do so much more than just write. We plot and scheme, then write and edit. We offer pages up to betas and make changes. We offer to beta for others. We read countless agent and editor blogs, books on writing, and take courses to learn and hone our craft. Writers are blogging and jumping feet-first into social media, hoping to establish a web-presence. Some of us even do our share of guest blogs. We want to meet other writers, unite and network. It takes a real time commitment to stay on top of such an ever-changing industry.

There’s almost no time left to read or write. We have to prioritize the time in between our real lives. So, how is the time best spent when we have so little of it? I find that the first thing I drop is reading. In fact reading is my biggest binge/purge situation. I will devour a novel a day for weeks on end and then, nothing for two or three months. I try to write every day, but there isn’t always time left over to read.

Reading is more important to writers than some realize. I was guilty of that train of thought for a long time. I’ve always read because I love words, but I didn’t consider how it affected my writing, or what my work would be like without it until my betas began comparing my prose to some of my favorite authors.
Reading is research and refinement and inspiration. It makes sense that we pick up our favorite phrases, new words, or mimic voices that speak to us. I’m inspired by reading. I know exactly what I love and why I love it, then I apply those concepts to my work and it shows.

Additionally, if you’re not reading in your genre then you can’t know what’s selling. You’re missing an incredible opportunity to learn. Those books have sturdy hard covers at the library for a reason. An editor bought them. Something inside was “right.” So, if you’re like me and are in the famine part of your reading cycle, take a minute to look at the new releases getting all the buzz then go pick them up. Enjoy the ride then take a little something you can use with you. To a writer, reading is the equivalent of eating chocolate to lose weight. Where else can you get such enjoyment and self improvement all in one?

5 comments to Reading is Like Eating Chocolate & Losing Weight

  • Great analogy! And the same thing happens to me. I’ll read, read, read, and then nothing seems to be able to catch my interest, even if I loved it before. I’m trying to get better at reading more often.

  • I do that too, I’ll read until my eyes are quite literally tired (I heard this from an optician, reading can make your sight blur) and then I’ll move on to games and forgo reading just to start craving books again.
    It’s the same with writing, I’ll get inspired and write 10k in three days then feel so drained that I don’t even want to see the story I’ve written. Writing another story for a little while helps, but I want to publish, therefore I have to return to my main story inspired or not.

  • What a great post! I, too, struggle with finding time to both read and write. I find the more I read, the more I’m inspired to write. One begets the other. I also feel that writing is like an old best friend. You may go days, weeks, months without speaking, but when you do, it’s like no time has passed. Even though I end up with breaks of time in between writing sessions, I am happy to pick up where I left off and feel revitalized getting back into it.

    One of best things I could have done as a new writer/blogger is connect with other writers. I realize that I am not alone in my struggles or my methodologies. I am encouraged to keep plugging away. If others can do it, so can I!

  • GREAT point. I usually sacrifice reading time for writing time, because writing is my priority. And there are SO many books I need and want to read! Been doing a little of it this summer, though. :)

  • Living in a mainly French speaking city,the libary is pretty scare for Enlgish books little alone books in my genre. I’ve bought so many books and the English bookstore, but the prices are adding up and my bookself in my small apartment is already full. So I’m thinking of “joining a gym” meaning investing in a Kindle and downloading my heart out when I go back home for Christmas.

Leave a Reply





You can use these HTML tags

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>