This Writer's Life · Writing Process

When a Writer Stops Reading.

For years, I’ve always considered myself a bookworm. Yes, one of those people who, despite having a pile of books on their shelves just can’t resist buying more, then wonders how they’re ever going to get all that reading in. In a household of gamers, I’d rather be curled up with a good book. In more recent months, however, my reading habits have dwindled.

Usually I have bouts where I’m an avid reader, but then I feel I’ve read too much and I need to take a break. The need to read returns once again and the cycle continues. This time around, I stopped reading and am finding it difficult to return. I’m currently alternating between two non-fiction books, but it has been a slow drip feed. My bookworm status has declined.

This is the longest I have gone without having a book or Kindle in my hand, so what’s gone wrong? I think there are two things at play. One is the fact that by getting Netflix, I have been getting my stories from a different medium. I have been watching both movies and television series, along with using Netflix to help with my research. This has helped me with my own writing, both in terms of ideas and craft.

The second issue I think is that by reading less, it has given me more time to focus on other things – like writing my own stories. This of course comes with its advantages and disadvantages. I am spending more time working on my current WIP, both in the writing and the planning process, as well as making plans towards self-publishing. Yet, as a writer I should also be reading, in order to help with my craft and discovering new books within my chosen genre.

Yes, this seems like a rather long hiatus, but I know that I will return to reading eventually. Perhaps it’s because this particular story I’m currently working on really needs to be written. Besides, doesn’t absence make the heart grow fonder? 😉

Are you a bookworm? Do you have long breaks between reading books? As a writer, do you find reading can be a distraction from your own writing?

Main image courtesy of Pixabay

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5 thoughts on “When a Writer Stops Reading.

  1. I’m a phasic reader…nothing for months then i’ll delve into a bunch of books, and then the cycle repeats.
    Helps inspire me to write more also.

    And Netflix is one helluva’ drug!

    1. That sounds like me when it comes to reading. And Netflix is definitely one hell of a drug; especially when it comes to watching a series! 😉 Thanks for stopping by, it’s good to meet you.

  2. I’m definitely an avid re-reader. I love relaxing with an old, comfortable favorite, and really can’t go to sleep without turning a few pages. But reading new stories is another matter.
    I tend to perceive a sense of pressure when reading something new. You only get one first time with any story, and I like to be sharp, awake and alert enough to really appreciate it.
    I know it sounds funny, but I don’t want to waste that potent first time, when everything is fresh and new, and even the worst of stories leave me on edge. Maybe the ending will disappoint me, but for that brief period, I savor the uncertainty, and the journey.

    1. Hi Adam. I’m a bit like that myself when it comes to reading a new book. I can never decide which one to go with first, but I know I have to be fully ‘alert’ in order to appreciate it. Reading an old favourite, not so much, it’s more a matter of being with old friends.

      1. That’s often the biggest barrier for me when it comes to reading new stories. I don’t want to miss an opportunity to learn, and in some ways it feels…disrespectful, to read a story for the first time when I’m dead tired, or otherwise incapable of fully appreciating a story. It really is like meeting someone for the first time vs an old friend. It’s gratifying to know I’m not the only one to feel this way. 🙂

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