The Reading Challenge



While I was talking with an aspiring digital artist on skype, I explained that I wanted to do both writing and art.  She brought up that it may not be realistic to achieve both goals. I get this a lot, so I didn’t mind. Even I don’t know if it’s realistic. All I know is that I’ll regret it later if I didn’t at least try and give it my all and see for myself if it’s possible or not. But then she mentioned something that got me thinking.  She said that writers needed to read a lot in order to get good (and thus it would be hard to have time for writing, drawing AND reading).

This is not knew information. It’s one of the fundamental facts of writing.

Good writers are prolific readers.

Thus I put on my hat of shame and must confess…I don’t read hardly as much as I should.

But it’s not because I’m lazy. I feel like it’s the opposite.

For me, reading is…procrastination.  It’s also an addiction.

When I was suffering from depression and anxiety over college, I read three trilogies in a month.

That’s nine books in one month.

I would binge read, do nothing but read till the book was done, and then read another book. I wouldn’t eat, sleep, go to class, anything that didn’t involve the characters and plotlines I was following religiously, as if they were my life, my world, and not what was around me.

Since I get really hooked and obsessed with books (and anything entertaining really), I learned to avoid things I knew I’d like. Currently, I’m avoiding T.V. shows such as Sherlock, Merlin and Dr. Who cause I know I’ll obsess over them and get nothing done.

However, writers need to read. They also need to write. So it’s definitely a dilemma.

In the end, I’ve decided to practice self-control and read a little before bed.

I have plenty of books I want to read, but haven’t gotten around to (and actually I bought some new books at a small bookstore I found by happy accident the other day, so the amount has grown) and I think it’s time I plowed through them.

Not only of fiction, but nonfiction books on the topics I mentioned in an earlier post (economics, politics, etc), thus hopefully killing two birds with one stone.

Since I plan on moving sometime this year, I have to pack up my books.  When I do, I plan to make a master list of my books, fiction and nonfiction and then scratch them out as I read them. I’ll share it here in a future post.

The other day, I bought THE HOBBIT by J.R.R. Tolkien. I have the LORD OF THE RINGS novels, but I haven’t been able to read more than half of the first book. Still, with the movie version of THE HOBBIT coming out soon, I wanted to check it out. I watched the old animated movie ages ago as a kid, and loved it, so I also wanted to read it for nostalgia sake.

Interesting enough, I opened the cover, expecting the same hard read that I face with THE FELLOWSHIP OF THE RING, and was surprised by how easy it was! The words flowed like water and the voice was so strong. With THE FELLOWSHIP OF THE RING, I felt like I was reading a history text book on Middle Earth. But with THE HOBBIT, it was more like someone was reading me a bedtime story.

It’ll be an entertaining and quick read…but not too quick.

Must. Learn. Control.

What about you? What are you reading? Do you like to read? Do you plan to read more this year?

4 thoughts on “The Reading Challenge

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  1. I know what you mean. For me, when I am in the thick of a project, reading is like procrasturbation as my younger brother would say. I love reading so much but when i sit down to do it in the middle of a project I always find my brain flitting back to my own in various different ways….

    Like oooh maybe I should write instead, i’m really looking forward to this upcoming scene, yada yada… and that’s when i’m being positive. When i’m feeling negative reading feels like i’m wasting what precious little time i have for writing. I learned this about myself a long time ago, so what i do to balance is listen to books on audio all the time when i’m busy doing menial things i can multi-task to. If i feel i need a visual representation of what i’ve heard, the structure of how a certain passage is written or something i look it up online or check the book out from the library. So… getting in the reading in a way that sates the book lover in me and eases the anal-retentive writer in me.

    another bad habit ive found when reading in the thick of writing/editing is editing the other author’s book in my head as i read subpar passages….


    1. Ah, I can’t ever see myself listening to audiobooks for novels. For me it’s like…doesn’t work lol.

      I do listen to audiobooks for nonfiction self-help books.

      And yeah, I lost all motivation for one of the first novels I tried to write cause at the same time I was reading Card’s Ender’s Game, which had a lot of similar elements of the novel I was writing, except a million times better.

      So yeah, that is another thing to consider when trying to read.

  2. I am planning to read more this year, some books to work on the craft of writing, others for fun. I’ve reading a couple of books by Noah Lukeman (A Dash of Style, How To Land (And Keep) A Literary Agent) as well as some fun reads such as Jon Ronson’s The Pyschopath Test and David Weber’s The Honor of the Queen. I’m also reading a lot of short fiction from magazines and anthologies. It’s hard to find the right balance between spending time reading and spending time writing, for me it’s the reading that usually suffers. Good luck with The Hobbit!

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