Reading Is Like Breathing

What I’m talking about is how important it is to read. As authors, we get so caught up in our own writing, our own deadlines, our own work, that oftentimes we forget to take time out to read.

One of the reasons I became a writer was because I love to read romance. I got caught up in romance when I was very young. In 6th grade I started reading the Dark Shadows books and was in awe of the dark romance on the page. Then when I was 17 I was introduced to historical romance via Kathleen Woodiwiss and The Flame and the Flower, and I was hooked

And I wanted to write, so I did.

But when I started to write in earnest, I stopped reading, mainly because I dove so deep into my own writing I became too busy to read, which was what got me started on writing in the first place.

And that’s bad.

If all you read is your own work, your writing grows stale, repetitive, out of touch with what’s going on out there in the publishing world.

I did that for awhile. And I missed out on some really great books. I built myself a wall and in my little room I locked myself in, convinced if I stopped to read it would do me harm.

I did myself harm. I lost touch with my own creativity.

When I started reading romances again, I found it freed my mind, and my muse. I needed breaks from my own work so that I could tap into my own creativity again.

Denying yourself the pleasure of reading because you’re afraid it might hurt your writing….hurts your writing. Now I make it a point to read all the time. And I’m so glad. Because not only can I join in the blogosphere discussions of great books out there, but I’ve found new friends in the writing community…my peers who write incredible romance in all different genres and other readers like myself who enjoy wonderful books. And my own creativity has been sparked by these amazing stories.

Is every book I read great? No. But I learn something new from each book I read. And isn’t that what it’s all about?

I’m so thankful I tore down that wall and started reading again. Now if I could just take a few months off writing so I could get through the TBR pile…..

6 thoughts on “Reading Is Like Breathing

  1. 1
    May says:

    :exactly:

    I’ve read that some writers don’t read fiction at all while writing a book. I think Erica Orloff’s one of them, and while it seems to work for her, it’d drive me absolutely up the wall and the muse away from me!

  2. 2
    Charlene says:

    If I went a week without reading, I’d start to twitch. Can’t do it. There’s nothing like reading to recharge mentally.

  3. 3

    Look at all the smilies!!! Woohooooooo!!! hehe

    I so agree, Jaci! I recently read a book totally unrelated to romance. It was a wonderful story…non-fictional. The author has such an engaging writing style I definitely feel that I took something away from it other than the pleasure of reading the story he told.

  4. 4

    A WEEK? Geez, I can barely go an HOUR without reading.

    Okay, I exaggerate. I can’t go a full day without reading something, though. And it’s usually romance, or current events magazines. I venture into other fiction genres occasionally, though less than I used to, and non-fiction is anathema. No idea why.

    I just can’t read Nora Roberts while I’m writing, because it seeps into my voice. But only her. Again, no idea why.

  5. 5
    Sherry says:

    I did something similar when we started homeschooling; threw myself into it so wholeheartedly that everything I did read was either about learning styles, teaching philosophies or something I was reading out loud to the kids. After five years I realized that if I didn’t recharge my batteries by doing something for me, we all suffered.

    Reading is how I escape for a little while. Romance is still one of my favorite genres but I have expanded into fantasy, sci-fi and horror over the last few years. Sometimes a day or two goes by without me reading but never more than that because I make sure I take some me time on a regular basis.

  6. 6
    Noemi says:

    Hi Ladies:

    I agree, luckily I have quite a few great authors to pick from. Thank you guys for the great stories thus far.

    Noemi

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