I have a confession to make. A short while back…ok, don’t let me fool you; it was on February 11th, I saw a post on Live to Write—Write to Live. This site has quite a few women authors and this particular post posed the following question:
QUESTION: It’s the biggest complaint I hear from writers. I don’t have time to read any books, they’ll say as they gaze at the novel in my hands. Okay, so fess up. Do you read on a daily basis? Do you find it important enough to schedule it into your day? (should you?)
Each of the authors then responded with how much they read and why and one of them said that in order to be a good writer, it is imperative that you spend at least 30 minutes a day reading. The more you read, the better you will write. Well, how could I argue with that? As a matter of fact, here is the comment I posted:
I do read more often than I even realize. Of course, I can get lost reading the blogs I follow, but I am also a Penn State University student studying psychology, so I spend at least 4 to 6 hours a day reading for my classes. I have hundreds of books on shelves, in bags, and stacked around my room just begging to be read. Unfortunately, I was not required in high school to read most the classics that are usually assigned reading. So, though I am now 40 years old, I figured it was about time to start. But I have so many, I do not know where to start. Willa Cather, Charlotte Bronte, Henry James, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Jonathan Swift, William Faulkner, Tennessee Williams, Thomas Hardy, John Steinbeck, H.G. Wells, John Keats, Carson McCullers, Rita Mae Brown…and those are just the ones right here on my desk. I like the idea of allowing myself 30 minutes a day to read for the pure pleasure of reading, and so, starting today, I will pick one of these amazing authors and begin. Thanks for the question and the suggestion! Happy Reading!
The first thing I will reveal is that when I went back to copy this response to include in this post and pasted it onto a Word document, I was mortified to see that I had five typing, yes, spelling, errors. No wonder none of them commented on what I had written! I did not realize how much I had come to rely on spell-check until I learned of the mistakes made in a situation where it is not utilized. Because of this reliance, I did not go back and read over what I had written. That is a serious slacking of discipline on my part. No more. Not proof reading is foolish anyway and I will be sure to do it every time, all the time, from now on.
Unfortunately, that is not the confession. In my comment, I said I would start that night, but I didn’t. I got busy with this or that and was just too cross-eyed exhausted to even try. The next day, I had some other excuse, and the day after that and the one after that. By then I just figured I would get around to it when I got around to it.
Well, today is the day. It is presently 4:20 AM and I have read the first chapters in three different books; My Ántonia by Willa Cather, Beyond the Tears: A True Survivor’s Story by Lynn C. Tolson, and Rubyfruit Jungle by Rita Mae Brown. My original intention was to see which one I wanted to read first, but I should have known better. I am incapable of starting a book and not finishing it, which means I will be reading all three. I will keep one in the car for the long trips into Manhattan, one in the bathroom closet for when I soak in a bubble bath, and the third will be on my nightstand. If I have not read all day before it is time for bed, I will be sure to pick up the bedside one and read for at least the 30 minutes I had set out to do, and will do so on a daily basis.
Yes, I do a lot of reading for school, but I never reward myself by taking time to read for pure joy of reading. It has been a really long time since I have read anything for that purpose, and I have always used being in school as an excuse. How ridiculous is that? Thirty minutes is not a huge amount of time that I cannot set aside for myself. And why not? I love to read, have an extensive list of books I am most eager to read, and have about a third of the books on that list right here in my room.
Before I leave you, I want to ask—do you read on a daily basis and is reading important enough to schedule into your daily routine?
- Nellibobs Recommends…Willa Cather (thereaderonline.co.uk)
- Which Willa Cather book should I choose? (breadcrumbreads.wordpress.com)
- Trying Willa Cather on for size. (breadcrumbreads.wordpress.com)
- Our Antonia (oup.com)