The Reading Writer (II)

Previously, I wrote about the various ways in which reading helps the writer (see “Reading Writer” under the category Improve Your Writing Skills) and looked at four benefits or advantages. This time I would like to focus on how to make the reading habit a permanent part of your lifestyle as a writer.

You see, it’s very easy to keep telling writers that they must read often in order to become better at their craft but this can be a tricky thing for some. Many writers are faced with deadlines to write copy or pressure to produce a certain number of articles that sometimes it’s hard to slot in reading of books, journals, magazines or other writers’ articles. This is especially so for the large number of writers who do it for a living as their main source of income. Besides, reading doesn’t come easily for everyone and so it takes real effort and commitment to inculcate it as a daily or even weekly activity, for example.

I, myself, have made it a goal to read at least one book every month, not necessarily in my field. However, it is a goal that I have to keep reminding myself to fulfill and sometimes it gets tricky when I do not have extra money to buy a new book. Borrowing is an option, of course, but that usually means I am limited to what is available with friends as opposed to what I feel I need to read (in any case, I prefer to own books, not borrow them). Your own case is probably different from mine but whatever your struggle is with getting to read regularly, I would like to offer you some suggestions that can help.

Here are five:

1. Cultivate a love for books
You may be asking, “How do I cultivate a love for books?” Well, the same way you would do it for a person. What are the factors that commonly lead to falling in love? One of them is spending a lot of time with that person, listening to them and enjoying their company. Spend time with the few books that you have, if you do, or buy one or two to start with. Read a chapter in the morning and another in the evening. Go to the library once a week and browse or search for something interesting to borrow. Attend the annual book fair (if it hasn’t happened yet) and visit every stand, talking to authors and publishers alike.

In simple language, go out of your way to acquaint yourself with the world of books. This is something you have to do consistently and consciously as there is no magic for it.

2. Set a reading goal
…and please stick to it, no matter what!
You could copy me and start with reading one book per month, or set a goal that fits in with your own schedule. Just make sure you are not over- ambitious (five books a month may be a bit too much) nor should you aim too low. By the way, it doesn’t have to be books only – feel free to pursue other reading materials like magazines. The key is to have a focus (the goal) and be consistent over time. Goals have a way of making us more focused and purposeful in what we are doing, both of which are essential for getting desired results.

 

3. Join a book club
There are plenty of online and offline book clubs where you could get to further nurture this new pursuit. You will find people to exchange notes with, discuss difficulties, discover new books to read and generally become more exposed to the world of reading. Some book clubs even have their own libraries from which members can borrow books that they may not be able to afford to buy.

 

4. Spend time with people who love to read
Enthusiasm is one thing that tends to rub off very easily! The more you hang around book lovers, who are enthusiastic about what they do, the more likely you will become like them, little by little.

I know this is related to point 3 above but it doesn’t have to be a formal club; it could be just a single friend who enjoys reading as a pastime and you could agree to be reading together once in a while. Sometimes it helps just to have near you someone who does the same things you do for motivation purposes.

 

5. Build a private library


This is something I plan to do in the long-term, not just for me but also for my children in future. You can do the same too, little by little, with the literature you buy regularly. The advantage is that you have a 24/7 domestic resource center with a variety of literature to suit various needs, e.g. journals for research, novels for leisure, etc. Make sure the room for the library is well-designed with comfortable chairs and cushions as well as a reading desk and proper lighting. This goes towards providing an incentive to be there for long periods of time.

 

Well, these are action points that you can implement easily and become a Reading Writer. Let me know how it works for you or if you think of something else that can help.

Sincerely,

Edna.

Advertisements

4 responses to this post.

  1. I love this post – great! It can never be said enough how reading helps writing but you’ve gone in great depth to explain this – brilliant 🙂

    ~ JLT

    Reply

    • Thanks JLT, I hope more people get psyched up to become readers. By the way, keep me posted on the nomination for the blog award…would like to know how it goes.

      Reply

  2. Great tips. I always think of reading as a way to exercise my writing muscle!

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: