Two years ago, I established a designated weekly writing time. When we moved in with my in-laws this summer, I established a couple of mornings each week as editing time. In the last few months, I realized something else—something rather elementary—needed to find its way into my schedule as well: reading books.
Novel writing is so much more than typing a certain number of words to tell a story. It’s editing, researching, reading, sharing, rewriting, and accepting criticism. Each of the commitments I’ve made has been for personal as well as professional reasons. The truth is that I need a little of each of these things—writing, editing, reading—in my routine to be at the top of my game both as a publishing professional and as a human being.
Our lives are busy, and so much of what I had been reading was in little chunks here and there, or alternatively, was the same Elephant and Piggie books over and over again (and they’re still great, for the record). As far as reading online, I’ve read (online) that research has proven that more screen time leads to anxiety and other not-so-awesome things. I’ve seen this in my own experience, especially after I finally joined the smartphone club. Something needed to give.
Designating a time for reading books means that I’m engaging in meaningful storytelling. I’m feasting my eyes on the printed page I love so dearly. And I’m getting more sleep because I’m not click-click-clicking through when I should be getting to bed. More sleep also means a mind more ready and able to create when those times come around.
My new year’s resolution? Read less online, more in print. Read to be a better writer, read well, read because I love it.