“If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have the time (or the tools) to write. Simple as that.” – Stephen King
Last week, we discussed cutting back on your consumption, in order to have more time to create. This balance is incredibly important to get right – we do need to have some consumption in our life, or there would be nothing to inform, to fuel and to inspire our work.
As writers, we must feed ourselves on words. Which means reading, as much as possible. Probably more than you’re reading now. But how can we do that when we’re trying to spend less time consuming, and there are only so many hours in the day. Maybe it’s a case of reading “better”.
How To Read Better
What I find really interesting about his tips is that they focus not on how to find more time to read, but how to make the most of the time that you have available. Which makes sense, because actually finding more time to read is incredibly difficult. And what if we made the extra time to read, and then wasted it?
Here are a couple of my favourite points that he raises:
Read Only What You Find Interesting
This seems self-evident, but many people: 1) have no idea what they find interesting, or 2) feel that what they find interesting is childish or lowbrow. That may be the case, but who cares? The point of reading is to enjoy reading.
Keep a Reading Log
Since I was a kid I’ve kept a list of the books that I’ve read and the dates that I started reading and the date that I completed reading … by keeping a record you’ll start to recognize patterns. For example, you might notice that you happen to dislike certain sub-genres of sci-fi and will learn to avoid them.
Be Willing To Abandon Bad Books
Like many people I feel physical pain when reading a bad book. Likewise, there is a relative “point of no return” for each reader where, when reading a bad book, they will feel that the time and pain spent is too costly to abandon the effort. Fight that urge because there is nothing less conducive to prolific reading than trying to slog through a bad book.
Make The Most of Your Reading
So, now that you’ve cut down on your consuming, take a look at how you consume your reading material. Follow some of Michael’s tips here, and you’ll be well on your way to making the most of your consumption. Which will mean you will read better, which in turn will make you write better.
How do you find time to read, and make the most of the time when you do? Please share your thoughts in the comments below!
Image courtesy of Ana Hurtado Collado