Can I Really Fit In Reading A Good Book?

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If being a good reader is what goes into making someone a better writer then I must confess that I am not the writer that I think I am.  Let me just say that I love to read, so much so that when I don’t get a chance to it hurts my heart just a little bit more with each opportunity that slips through my fingers.

After all, reading is what made me want to be a writer in the first place and it is what allowed me to enhance my abilities as a writer, learning more about crafting words, and the proper structure of them, what having the write setting and time period can do to enhance a book.  I read about how important small details are to a book and how to get more in touch with my characters and who they were really portraying.  With reading I even got to learn about certain things that I otherwise wouldn’t have known about and about places that I have always dreamt of going but that are not a guaranteed staple of my journey.

Having said all of that, lately, in the last few years I have not been the best reader that I can be.  That last two years it seems as though I have not read at all (unless you count the fact that it took me almost a whole year to finish one book) and it saddens me.  It is not because I don’t still have the desire to always have a book in my hand and take it with me wherever I go.  It is because once you really thrusts yourself into being a writer, both the creative and the business sides of it, it seems like the time to read is minimal at best.

I feel like I can’t even balance the time to write and market my business, along with taking care of my daughter and making memories with her, so by the time I sit down to read anything I am so tired that I end up in the same place I started with the bookmark lying somewhere on the floor and the pages bent because I have tossed and turned all over my book.

You see it’s not as if I never make the attempt and even squeeze in what I think will be just enough time to read a chapter before I try and get some sleep.  Mind you, that I wake up most mornings at 6am and don’t usually make it to bed until 2am (sometimes later) so I am operating daily on four hours of sleep. Example, I started the book I am currently reading in January with the New Year.  At the most it should have only taken me a month to finish it (used to be less) but here it is March and I am still just halfway through.  So does the fact that I can’t seem to squeeze in reading to my already filled up schedule mean that I am not as good of a writer as I once was?  I sure hope not.

This is a reminder to all of you out there, find the time to read if you’re not already doing it.  It will not only make you a better writer overall, but a better editor for those novels you have to edit, and just a better storyteller in general.  Take it from someone who can’t seem to fit in a good book and who is desperately trying to find the balance so that I can, read almost as much as you write.  It will make a world of a difference.  Stay curious and stay captivating!

 

Jimmetta Carpenter

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A Great Writer Can Never Forget to Be a Good Reader: 5 Ways to Make Sure You Fit Reading Into Your Everyday Life

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I get really frustrated when I can’t find the time to work on my novels, outside of finishing up school, maintaining both my blog and my online magazine, Write 2 Be, trying to keep up with Social media and market myself the way that I should be doing (which I still haven’t mastered yet), and of course, trying to be the best mother that I can be.  What frustrates me even more is when I can’t even find the time to read like I want to.

I think that I have been reading the same book for months now (which normally I can read a book quicker than that) and it’s not that it is not interesting or that it is slow because I find myself thinking about the characters and what is going to happen when I am not reading it.  I see other writers who have this balancing act down in such a neat and tidy way that you would never know (until you actually sit down and talk to them) that they struggle with these same time constraints as the rest of us writers.

It’s funny because I keep trying to rearrange and arrange again my schedule for writing, for doing school work and for everything else and it would seem that the more that I try and tweek the schedule and the time constraints that the less time I seem to have to write much less to read.  However, reading is something that is extremely important for a writer to maintain and it is primarily the reason most of us writers even began to write in the first place.

So I thought of some other tactics that maybe I could try to better fit reading into my daily routine.  I thought that maybe I could share them here with you, just in case I am not the only one who is struggling with trying to fit reading into their day.

1)      Don’t mix your reading time in with your writing time—I’ve tried this before.  I don’t know why I thought that it would work but I quickly found out that this does not work, at least for me.  Now granted I have seen people do this.  They will write for a few minutes, put their writing aside and then pick up a book and read for a few minutes.  I guess this works for some but I think that for the vast majority this does not do anything but make you wish you were reading while you are writing, or vice versa.

2)      Make sure that you read a book that holds your interest—I know that it is said to be a bad thing to stop reading a book after you have already started it and once upon a time I would have agreed with this.  However, there is no point in wasting time reading a book that is not of interest to you either because it is too slow or it is just not captivating enough.  You will save time by just moving on to the next book which, if you love it, will probably take you no time to read.

3)      Just like you schedule your writing time, schedule your reading time too—If you have a hectic writing schedule and you have a deadline looming over your head, then you just have to find a way to work reading into your schedule.  It may feel odd to have to do this for a task like reading but we fit so much of our daily lives into boxes on a calendar, why not add our reading (down time) to the list.

4)      Make your reading time your down time—Use your reading, not as a chore that you must do, but rather as your time to wind down and wrap up your day.  Perhaps read a few pages before going to bed which will still keep your mind feeling creative but allowing it to, in a sense, debrief, for the end of the day.

5)      Treat Reading As the Norm—You have a routine for most everything that goes into your daily workload and your comings and goings.  You know what time slot is for what and how to take a few minutes away from this time block to make room for this other task in the next time block.  So make reading apart of your regular routine.  After all it should be!

I hope that some of these suggestions work for you.  I think that they are already beginning to work for me and I am almost finished with this book and have the next one picked out already.  Just remember that a good and avid reader makes for an even better writer!

 

Jimmetta Carpenter

Writer/Editor

The Diary: Succession of Lies (Now Available)

Writing as “Jaycee Durant”

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For the Love of Reading

I forget to read sometimes.  I’m not talking about reading the important books and articles on the craft of writing, or the blog posts from other writers about their successes and failures, or even books and articles about the business of being a writer.  I’m talking about reading for the sheer enjoyment of reading and some of the genres that I am interested in writing in.  

I was reminded when I read a blog posts by author Jody Hedlund today about the importance of reading, especially for a writer.  She wrote about reading being an important tool in your writer’s toolkit because in order to be a good writer, in particular a fiction writer, you have to actually find the time to read just for your enjoyment.  She also stressed the importance of not feeling guilty about taking time to read something that has absolutely nothing to do with researching whatever your next project is because reading in the end helps you learn other techniques of other writers and methods of storytelling that you might not have discovered before.  

Reading her blog post made me think of just how many times I felt guilty for even reading a book that had nothing to do with what I was working on, or something to do with developing other techniques and skills that I need to as a writer.  But I didn’t use to be that way.  I used to always make sure I had a book in my hands, in fact there was a point in time where I would read two books at a time, one about my craft and one that I just wanted to read for enjoyment.  I could breeze through a book in about two days and now I can barely get through a book in a couple of months.  

I realized in reading Jody’s blog post that I shouldn’t feel guilty for wanting to just block out a space of time to read.  It was reading that made me fall in love with writing in the first place.  It was reading that made me want to be a storyteller that captivated people with just my words.  It was reading that allowed me to get lost in other people’s stories when I didn’t want to be in my own reality.  I forgot how much I loved to read and that I shouldn’t feel guilty about just wanting to curl up with a good book and get lost in a reality that is not my own. 

 

Jimmetta Carpenter

Writer/Editor

The Diary: Succession of Lies (Now Available)

Writing as “Jaycee Durant”

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A Wish to be a More Avid Reader

“Read, read, read. Read everything—trash, classics, good and bad, and see how they do it. Just like a carpenter who works as an apprentice and studies the most.  Read! You’ll absorb it.  Then write. If it is good, you’ll find out.  If it’s not, throw it out the window.”
~William Faulkner
 

A writer is supposed to also be a really good reader as well and I have to admit that, while I used to be, I am not the best at reading.  Not since I have thrown myself more into writing and concentrating on perfecting my writing skills and techniques.  I make an honest effort every year to try and do better at maintaining my reading pace.  When I make my list of books to read I try to put a little bit of everything on the list from romantic novels and mysteries, to some writing instruction books as well as motivational books.  I typically find myself only completing about half of my enormous list that I actually think I can read in a year.  

I suppose I would like to think that I could still read at the same pace that I used to read (like ten years ago).  But in reality I know that as I get more and more into writing my novels and other writing projects, I most likely won’t be able to read at that same rate but that never stops me from trying.  This year I am really going to attempt to make a manageable list that I will hopefully complete.  However instead of packing it with an eclectic mix of genres as I normally would I am going to be reading all mysteries next year.  For the last few books on this year’s list I’ve chosen the mystery books and I am really getting into the mystery genre.  I really like Sue Grafton and J.D. Robb novels right now.  

Also since my novel is a mystery and I am beginning a series, then it seems that I like to write mysteries as well.  So if any of you have any mysteries that you would like to suggest for my 2012 reading list I sure would like to hear them.  I have a few of my own already to put on there but I still would like to hear what books you would recommend.  Well I have a list to go finish.  Until tomorrow…What’s on your reading list?

 

Jimmetta Carpenter

Writer/Editor

The Diary: Succession of Lies (Now Available)

Writing as “Jaycee Durant”

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