How Can You Write Fiction, If You Don’t Have Time to Read It?

“If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have the time (or the tools) to write. Simple as that.” –Stephen King.

When I first embarked on this journey to write a novel, I had a plan.  First, I would hone my skills in a writing class.  Then, once the class was done, I would dedicate an hour each day to my pursuit.  Well, once I began listening to discussions about character development, literary devices and dialogue each week in my Short Story course, I felt as though I also needed to be reading more.  This led me to add, “read every night” to my plan of action.

At first this idea seemed brilliant to me.  Last weekend, when I had become frustrated writing the short story that was due the following Tuesday, I took a break to pick up “The Girl Who Played With Fire” (sequel to The Girl With the Dragon Tatoo, and safe to say is not chick-lit or lady-lit).  It was truly an enlightening experience to read fiction at the same time I was trying to write fiction.  Imagine the words coming out of the page, sparkling and revealing like in Ghost Writer (you, the TV show—“he’s a ghost and he writes to you-ghost writer!”…like that)  It was like being dyslexic when one day all the words and numbers that been out of order suddenly make sense.  Basically, reading while writing, gave me a new understanding and appreciation for the way the author described what the character was doing, the setting around her and her motivations.  It became clear to me that Stephen King is correct–you really can’t be a fiction writer without being a fiction reader.

But here’s the thing–possibly every day this week, by the time I got home I was so tired, I really couldn’t bring myself to do anything but sit in front of the TV.  Either I was exhausted from working, or I had gone to a happy hour or something and was simply incapable of reading (alcohol and reading just don’t mix!).  So I wonder, even if I do manage to write everyday (which I think I can because I’m committed and ready to do this!!), will I be able to find the time to read?  And if I don’t, can I really even pretend to be a novelist (which is what I consider myself to be currently doing).  Once I figure this out, I’ll let you know what happens.  Ciao!


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