As writers, where would we be without readers?
We write to explore the stories that inhabit the shadowy corners of our imagination, hoping others will come along for the adventure.
We gather readers from obscure ends of the earth, spend more time than we want to (ought to?) on social media in order to “reach” or “engage” them; we entice them with deals and pretties and freebies and oh, look, puppies!
Where are you, elusive Readers? And what are you?
Readers are many things.
Today they are stressed, short on time, easily bored, finicky, lonely, longing for something deep and meaningful, longing for something light and carefree, looking for a change, looking for stability, looking for connection to the past, looking for hope for the future, looking for help to get through the day.
Increasingly, they are looking for escape from reality.
Is that true?
The Reader is an enigma. But, hopefully, most of all, my dear Weaver of Stories, the Reader is YOU.
That’s my fancy-schmancy way of turning this topic on its head. Because as writers, reading is both the breath of inspiration and the hammer and anvil of honing craft.
Writer, are you a READER? Are you an avid reader? Voracious reader? Bored reader? Unimpressed reader? Frustrated reader? Delighted reader? Intentional reader? Adventurous reader?
I don’t read as much as I want to. I certainly don’t read as much as I need to.
I am forever saying, “I need to read more.” And I am forever scrolling through my list of video streaming options to see what new British mystery series I can escape to. And when there are no new ones, I re-watch my old favorites, of which there are many.
What’s intruding on your reading time?
I hear the words of Stephen King whispering in my ear – “If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all others: read a lot and write a lot. There’s no way around these two things that I’m aware of, no shortcut.” (Let me just say here even though these words rebuke me like a slap, I’m extremely thankful that these are the words of Stephen King that haunt me. It could be so much worse, am I right?)
I’m wondering how you do with this reading thing. How much are you reading? How much are you skimming? How high is your TBR stack, and are you making progress? How much are you reading for craft? How much are you reading for the pure and simple pleasure of reading?
Do you also feel like you’re not reading enough? Do you want to read more?
Or, would you say that you are a committed, disciplined, happy and healthy reader?
Writer friend, can we explore this together? Can we help each other to be better readers?
I’m raising my hand. I need help. So, for the next several weeks, I’m going to focus on the topic reading. We’ll look at some statistics, dive into ways to increase our reading, and hopefully share some encouragement and inspiration with each other. I’ll be giving more details about that in the Facebook group, so if you’re not a member and you’d like to get in on it, check it out here.