As both a reader and a writer, I sometimes wonder if all my time spent reading would have been better spent writing. Should I stop reading while I work on the next draft of Remnants so that all that time doesn’t go to waste? Sounds like that might be smart, considering we’re a month into 2020, and while I have read three books so far, I still haven’t edited a single line of my manuscript.
Yesterday I read Half Bad by Sally Green. It took me about five hours, only paused by a quick walk with Moya (it was raining so fifteen minutes outside was more than enough she thought) and eating dinner. I could probably have gotten at least a few chapters readied for my re-write at that time. Surely that would have been time much better spent?
Some people might say yes. They might spend all their waking moments writing and re-writing and winning at the author game. But I’m not so sure that life is for me. I love to read. It lets me relax and escape, and you know what, it’s almost like researching for a massive paper. I need to read, often in the same genre as I’m writing at the time, in order to be more creative. Sometimes though, I need a completely different genre, just so I can escape reality for a while and be somewhere completely new and exciting.
I don’t feel like reading is taking away from my time of writing. Not unless it’s November, that’s the exception. But then again, in November there are a lot of things that are put on hold or pushed aside in order to write. It works, for a month. But it cannot be my entire existence. I can’t live like that for the other 11 months of the year. It just wouldn’t work.
I need to spend time with my friends, to call up my family and talk for ages. I need to take long hikes with Moya if the weather allows, and marathon a new TV show for an entire weekend. I need to be able to spend an afternoon reading, without feeling guilty about not spending it writing. Because I need to be me. Writing is a part of me, but it’s not all of me. Maybe that means I’ll never get something published? I don’t think so, but others might.
I know my creativity stems from all the other things I do. From reading an amazing book, which makes me want to hone my skills so maybe one day I can write something [almost] as good, to watching a great TV show that makes my own stories come alive in my head. I hike and it clears my head, I spend time with my friends and it gives me clarity. What I write comes from all the things I surround myself with.
So I’ll keep reading, and I’ll keep writing. Maybe not as much as I could if I didn’t spend so much time with my nose in a book, but we can’t all be perfect. I know I’ll get through Remnants this year, just as I know I’ll easily hit my 12 book reading goal on Goodreads this year. Because 2020 is going to be my year. I can feel it.