Monday 8 January 2018

Reading And Writing - The Creative Process


With the new year starting, and having read over 170 books last year, I thought it would be a good idea to talk not just about writing in this piece, but about how the process of being a reader can actually help you as a writer. I have a vlog planned on this topic in February, but I wanted to start the new year right and give you some tips about reading that won't be covered in the vlog.

First I thought I would give you a little background on me as a reader. I have always been someone who loved losing themselves in books. That all kinda changed when I got sick, started uni and fell into a bit of a reading slump. Oh I'd still read, just not to the levels I did before and do now. When I got my Kindle in 2010, that's when things really changed for me because suddenly I had access to books. All these books that had been out of my reach and I could read and read and read. As I finished my degree and starting writing more often, I fell into a pattern of reading even more. Now I generally read between 150-170 books a year and I couldn't be happier with my reading life.

For my birthday, my mum got me a brand new Kindle as my old one was a bit heavier and starting to become a little obsolete. I couldn't have been happier for this gift and I started the new year with a bunch of books already at my fingertips. So how does being a writer and a reader intertwine? You'd think it was something most writers do, reading helps fire up the synapses and also gives you a glimpse into other worlds. As a writer, it's something I feel is a big part of being able to write as well as I do.

But what happens when it comes to deciding how to spend your time? I mean some people don't have time to read and read. They've got a day job, or kids, or the only spare time they have is spent writing, and can I really blame them for that? Being an indie author is a full time job, hell being an author of any branch is a full time job. On top of your own works and commitments, you need to find time to delve into other works of fiction. It's a really important part, for me, and for other writers and authors I know, of the writing and creative process.

So here's five ways you can read and still juggle the other time constraints in your life.

A lot of people don't seem to realise that audio books do count as reading. Yes, you're listening but you're still reading. These can be done in the car, or on your phone and all the rest. You can spend some of your busy time listening to books. I know Amazon has a good platform with Audible and I know that there aren't as many audiobooks out there as I'd like, but they can be a great way to get some reading done while doing other things.

I do a lot of my reading at night before bed, or when I'm having an off day. The Kindle has made that so amazing for me because I don't have to worry about having the strength to hold the book. It doesn't matter if all you do is read one chapter or two, it's still reading and you'd be amazed at how good it feels to lose yourself for a bit in a book.

I don't know how much this applies to other people, but for me, I take my Kindle everywhere. Hospital appointment? Read while I wait. When I used to do the school run? Read while I wait for pick up. The list goes on and on. It doesn't have to be much, but you'd be amazed at how that time stacks up and before you know it, you've finished the book and are onto the next one.

This one is simply that there are some people who read way more than me, some who read way less. I'm not saying that you should read 150 books in a year. I don't live your life, so the amount for you is whatever you want it to be. I see some of my friends on Goodreads set it as ten in a year, and that still counts. Any number counts. So don't be put off by everyone else talking about how many they've read. You don't live their lives and they don't live yours.

And finally, #5 - READ WHAT'S FUN
I know that a lot of people sometimes feel like that have to read certain books, even if they don't appeal to them. That's just not true. I don't read any book that I don't think I'll enjoy, and if I get into it and hate it? I don't finish it. Life is too short to be forcing yourself to read books you hate. Find what books you wanna read and read those. It doesn't matter what genre, fiction or not, just find something that you know you'll enjoy and read to your hearts content!

So those are my five tips for reading with a busy life. I plan to aim for another 150 in 2018. I hope you'll join me in the Goodreads challenge and remember point four! Now, I need to go and lose myself in a book! Let me know if you have any tips in the comments!

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