Reading as a Writer

I haven’t read any books this month. 

Amazing, right? I was pretty thrilled when I realized that. Of course I’ve read little bits and pieces of books here and there, but nothing even close to a full book. And it’s already almost the second week of August.

Of course a totally out-of-the-ordinary announcement like that needs an explanation because let’s face it: I’m a huge advocator of reading. Books add so much to life and I’m pretty convinced they should be experienced by everyone. I’ve learned so much through reading and I want to help others get involved in their own reading adventures. (I’m a writer, for crying out loud! Books are a huge part of my life.)

So why the excitement over not reading?

If you’ve been following my blog for a lengthy amount of time you may have noticed that this year I’ve read (more like inhaled) an immense amount of books. We’re talking about 105 books in the first 210 days of the year. That’s approximately one book every two days and since each book averaged 252 pages, that’s 126 pages of reading per day. (Gulp.)
And, if you’re reading in-between the lines what that means is: I haven’t felt the best this year and so I’ve spent a more than average amount of time resting and reading. Therefore, when I do feel well enough to actually live like a normal human it makes me happy. (Of course I still read even when my health is at optimum capacity, just not quite so fast or ferociously…)
So, if I’ve only read a couple of pages each day, what have I been doing during the past few weeks? 
*Visiting family out-of-state (and playing lots of card games with them, oh happy day)
*Editing more 
*And of course living this thing called “Life” (in case you haven’t noticed, this takes up a good amount of time…)
Back to the subject of reading though. Reading is amazing. I have learned so much through my rapid reading phase. When I look back at my writing from the beginning of last year I cringe in embarrassment and wonder how I ever thought it was public-worthy. Devouring large amounts of words is a way I can grow myself and my craft even when I’m not up to writing or editing like I wish I would be. Therefore reading is wonderful. 
When I think back to the struggles I had early on with my writing I’m practically speechless with delight. See, a lot of those problems I dealt with aren’t even on my radar any more because the correct way of writing is so ingrained in my brain that it happens naturally. 
When I read a book I take note of sentence structure, descriptions, word pictures, vocabulary usage, foreshadowing, plot and sub-plot lines, character development and of course what parts grab me in and make me beg for more. Some books make my mouth drop open in amazement and my heart pitter-patter happily at the beautiful way the words are arranged. Other books literally make me embarrassed when I think of them being published and therefore available to the public. 
I have read advice from a lot of successful authors and quite often one of their top tips for learning to write better is to read a lot. I’m glad I took their advice because guess what? It works. 
* * *
What about you? Do you like to read? 

3 thoughts on “Reading as a Writer

  1. Chris Purdom says:

    Haven't felt well this year. Is this a lingering from lyme disease, or just a general unhealthy maybe pushed yourself to hard thing? Either way be praying for you. Like our famous author regardless but prefer you healthy, happy and complete with your glowing smile 🙂 Keeping you in prayer. Have a safe trip home and a great day!


  2. Sunny Smith says:

    Reading is a huge part of my life. I'm not quite as quick as others, but I consistently read. Those habits definitely have a positive impact on my writing (both personal and school).

    Also, are those your bookshelves in the picture? They're very pretty!


  3. Cait @ Paper Fury says:

    hehe, do I EVER. Yes. I quite like to read. I've just read my 200th book this year. :') I maybe read too much (is that possible?!) and forget to do other lifey things because I just get so absorbed with reading and organising books and blogging. BUT YES. I'm glad you balance reading with all your lifey things. And I love that bookshelf picture.

    Also I 100000% agree. Reading is the BEST teacher and I also think it's super important, especially for writers really serious about pursuing publication. You have to know what is out there and what's selling and things. *nods*



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