The other day, Dave White started a discussion about finding time to write. What about finding time to read? A few other discussions have addressed writers' tendency to mimic too closely whatever they were reading. When you've made writing your first priority, when do you find time to read? How do you keep your reading separate from your writing? What are your reading habits like?

I was just about to make a big book order when I asked myself the ol' question: When will I have time to read all these books?

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I try to read at least an hour or two a day,but whereas I used to read about 8-12 books a month, it's now more like 4- 6. And that's a good month. My reading group has turned out to be detrimental to my reading. They tend to choose long books (350 pages) because most of them are retired. They also like substantive books which means long. Our last three books have all been nearer 400 pages.
I have to admit things like crimespace and blogs has greatly curtailed my reading too.
Right now I'm taking my last bit of time off before I start nursing school so my days are virtually responsibility free (well, almost). My biggest obstacle to reading is the internet. Otherwise, I read. I have a pile of books from the library (growing up with a librarian always meant no fines, I'm more than making up for it now), plus I don't know how many books that I now own that I have no idea when I'll get around to reading. Most likely, someone will have to sit next to the urn holding my remains and read a pile of books to me.
Finding time to do anything these days can be a challenge, but I'm a little surprised and sometimes distressed at how many authors say they don't have time to read. From my end, I have to look at my clients' work from a career perspective, meaning theirs, not mine. I have to know what other authors/titles are are competing for the attention I want to get them. But just like it's my job to know the industry in which I function, it's important for my clients/authors to know the industry in which they function. They need to read to know what's out there today - what's working and what isn't; what's selling and what's making the bestseller lists. What's been done and done and done....

And, like Karen mentioned, it's good to read for fun sometimes, too. That's a rare pleasure for me anymore, since there are so many things I "have" to read for business. But after all, if a book that someone will read for fun is what you're trying to write, how better to get insight on how to create that than by experiencing it for yourself? Schedule a couple of hours a week if that's all you can spare and enjoy!
I find that when I'm writing non-fiction (like the recently completed Boucher biography), I read a lot of fiction. Likewise, when I'm writing fiction, I read a lot of biographies and non-fiction. It feeds my desire to read constantly without bleeding too much into what I'm writing.

If I read in a genre too close to what I'm writing, I start noticing that the reading starts to creep into the writing in small insidious ways.
I have a book by my side when I have the TV on. When it's sports and nothing crucial, I put the TV on Mute, read, and look up periodically to see if something is happening.

When I'm watching 24, House, Numbe3rs, 60 Rock, or the Daily Show, I put the TV on mute during the commericals, and read.

Writing ... I do that Monday, Wed, & Friday morning and almost all day Sat & Sunday. The rest of the time, I baby sit, eat, commute, and breathe. Oh, yes, I sleep some.

Good question, Gerald. I find I spend more time writing than reading.
If I write just before I go to bed, I find it difficult to sleep because of all the ideas buzzing round in my head. I've found that making sure I read for about an hour before bedtime helps that.

In terms of it affecting my writing, I have two strategies. One, I make sure I'm always reading different kinds of books, and shorter books. That variation helps me separate the voices from my own. Two, I use a trigger song to get me into the mood of my current WIP.
When I first started writing I couldn't read while writing at all. But once I'd grown into my voice and had confidence in my own style it wasn't an issue at all. I also realize that by not reading I'm seriously curtailing my growth as a writer. It's imperative to read a wide range of authors and styles and keep on top of what's happening in the genre. I am both inspired and rejuvenated by reading.
I never go anywhere without a book. I read in line at the bank. I read during the commercials when I'm watching TV. I read while I'm eating. And I still don't get enough time to read.

I'm going to log off the computer now and go read.
Neil touched on a vital point.
Tp paraphrase someone at 4MA(4 Mystery Addicts-( the best on line book group on the web) - "I'm spending so much time on the computer reading about reading, I'm not getting any REAL reading done!"
I read for about an hour before bed and in the car while my daughter is at dance class.I average 2-3 books a week, depending on page count.
Because my work is seasonal, I'm off during the summer and my weekly count triples.
My idea of the perfect day off is one spent in my recliner(fowl weather is a nice touch) working my way through a good book and a good bottle of wine.
Reading is my bedtime wind-down too. I tried to make Friday early evenings my newest reading time - kind of my own Happy Hour, but the kids keep asking me to make pizza and, I don't to them about their week. One thing I miss is reading to them. The last book I read to my youngest was Wells' War of the Worlds. I miss all of that. I should never have taught them to read for themselves.
I incessantly lament the time to read. If I could read a book a day, I would be happy.

Sadly, I doubt I'll ever have that much time. *sigh*
I'm on a few mystery listservs, but I'm beginning to feel like a dumb bunny. Everyone is talking about the many books they're reading and 'm just shaking my head. I have 40 books in my TBR pile, but I have no idea when I'll get to them. I have no time for writing, never mind reading. I used to read at least 3-4 books a week - even when my kids were little. I haven't been to the library in months. I'm trying to figure out what has taken the place of reading? Hmm.


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