On Writing: Read Less
January 4, 2015 71 Comments
So far my average has been about 30 books a year.
And then it dawned on me. I’ve got three books in development, two of which are to be completed by the end of this year, and I’m only allotted so much time within the year to write them, then edit them, edit them, and edit them again.
Looking at my track record of reading 30 books a year and having one book published every two years, you’d think I was striving to be a professional reader, not writer.
Now don’t get me wrong, I will never underestimate the power and benefit of reading, especially for writers. You can’t possibly write without constantly reading, so why am I resolving to read less?
Out of 365 days a year, there are a total of 8,760 hours.
I sleep on average seven hours a night, so that’s 1,251 hours I’m forced to disregard, which means I only have 7,509 waking hours.
Additionally, I have a daughter to play with and a wife to adore, movies to watch, and walks to take, so averaging in three hours a day plus weekends, I’m now at 2,709 hours available to devote to writing.
But wait. There’s time spent doing errands, miscellaneous trips to Taco Bell and new pizza joints, social worker visits, time wasted scrolling through iTunes and surfing on IMDB… a rough estimate brings my writing time down to 1,1749 hours for the year 2015.
Compared to the 7,509 hours I’m awake, 1,749 hours seems kind of small. But it is what it is and as my daughter grows older, that number is going to go down even further.
So the question is, do I spend that thousand-plus hours out-reading my previous book totals, or do I spend that time working to achieve my sub-goal of becoming a bestselling author so I can quit my day job and earn an additional 2,640 hours to my schedule, traveling the country with my family, reading (and writing) all I want on a sunny beach?
So yeah, I’ll keep reading in order to keep improving my writing skills, but it is not going to be as big of a priority as it has been. For me, it’s a bigger accomplishment to write two books and read 15 than read 40 books and write nothing in a year.