A writer should be well read. Everyone says it, and I believe it. I think it’s important for every writer, no matter what he or she writes, but especially for genre writers to be well-read in their chosen genre (and beyond). It’s important to know what’s been done and to learn the genre conventions, which can only be done by reading. A lot. I also find reading helps to stimulate my creativity, so not only do I learn what’s been done and how, but I get ideas for things to write.
Besides, I really like to read. When I was a teen, I was a voracious reader, and I burned a good chunk of my weekly allowance on books from the local used book store. As an adult, I used to read every day during my commute on the bus (when I wasn’t editing stories, that is). Over the last six months, however, I’ve not read much at all. In fact, other than reading technical documents for the day job, I’ve read almost nothing. The last novel I read was the Hunger Games (which has some of the slickest craft I’ve seen in a while), and that was before the film came out on DVD. I did read all of the Nebula-nominated short stories and novelettes in March, but other than the odd short story here and there, I’ve not read much fiction at all.
I blame it on my recent move—I’ve got to blame it on something, right? In January, my commute got too short for productive reading, and since finalizing my move three weeks ago, my daily commute has become a 5-second walk down the hall to my home office, leaving me no convenient (and captive) reading time.
I’m gradually beginning to settle into my “new” life and redevelop my routines. I’m slipping back into a consistent writing routine, something I’ve been lacking since January. Now I need to carve out time to read again. Without a commute to create free time, I’ll need to fend off other potential distractions to get my reading in. That’s never been easy for me to do, but I want to start reading again. I miss it, and that should be enough incentive for me to find about an hour a day. Now I need to stop writing and talking about it, and just do it.