One of the challenges I find as a writer is that I am also an avid reader. Sometimes finding time to engage in two of my favorite activities can be a daunting task. Obviously I have other things to do as well; caring for my 4-year old granddaughter, shopping, house cleaning, watching favorite television shows, answering e-mails, and any number of other necessary duties a person can have.
I’ve tried to dedicate myself to writing for 4 hours a day while my granddaughter is at Head Start. Unfortunately that doesn’t always work out as planned. I have learned that flexibility is a requirement of writing. There are days when those ideas just don’t flow as smoothly as I need them to. Sometimes there are school holidays and that means my mornings aren’t free. I work around these stumbling blocks as well as I can.
I set aside at least an hour before bedtime to catch up on my reading. As a writer I feel that I have a responsibility to other writers to read their work and review it. I know how valuable reviews are to me, whether they are negative or positive. Of course I like the positive opinions more but those negative reviews are useful as I work on my next offering. Unfortunately there are evenings when I am exhausted from the day’s adventures and that hour doesn’t last more than fifteen minutes.
But what happens when I am enjoying a book so much that I can’t bear to put it down? What happens when I read until my eyes close and wake up in the morning eager to continue? Do I set aside my reading in order to concentrate on writing? Can I draw myself away from another writer’s fascinating tale to journey forward with my own? Dilemma, dilemma.
As I said, I have learned to be flexible. I break the rule many writers have of sticking to a schedule. I can offer a much better story if I am following my muse than if I am following a clock. If I want to finish the latest Stephen King before I resume tracking my own killers, then so be it. Sitting my granddaughter down with a book or my tablet can garner me as much as half an hour to do my thing.
If my storyline is causing my acrylic nails to fly over the keyboard then King must wait his turn. I’m sure he will understand.
I think a requirement to be a good writer is to be a good reader. Whatever the choice of material, whether I read in the genre I write or something totally different, reading is a vital part of writing. So I am certain to make time for both.