Wow. Still not over that miracle goal at basically the last possible second. So excited!!
Deep breaths. Deep breaths.
For today’s You Tell Me, a question and hopefully conversation starter: do you spend more time writing or do you spend more time reading?
And is one or the other better or more important?
*To include frequent bouts of chewing the corner of my MacBook in frustration and long spans of staring into space and drooling.
I definitely write more than I read, but it swings about. Some day I do nothing but read, other days it is about 50/50, other days I do nothing but read. As Stephen King says: You have to read to write.
Milo James Fowler says
Writing takes longer, so I spend more time composing and revising a single WIP than I do reading a book. But it seems like I'm reading more, as I've gotten through chapters of my library loaners and only completed one new short story this week.
Reading…I love to read so I fill in all the the nooks and crannies of my day reading newspapers, magazines, books, online etc. But I still allow big chunks of time for writing — trying to balance my days.
Bryan Russell (Ink) says
I'd have to give the edge to reading, but it varies a lot. When pulling long hours on a first draft, I probably write more. The rest of the time it's probably reading… certainly in the downtimes when I'm between things. But I read a fair bit, likely between 100 and 150 books a year. I also write a lot. It's a matter of finding hours in the day, as I'm guessing it is for a lot of people. Trying to balance family, writing and reading seems to get a little trickier every year.
I certainly read less than I once did. When I was younger I was probably in the 200-300 book a year range. Don't have time for that anymore, though writing time has gone up… perhaps a balancing of priorities?
As for which is more important… I find it hard to separate them. Reading and writing are like two sides of the same coin, a furtherance of my obsession with words and stories. It's hard to unwind them into separate entities. Writing is, really, a form of reading to oneself, and reading is consumption of writing energy. All bundled up, those two things.
And, are you kidding me, that tennis match was called for darkness at 59-59 in the fifth set? How could they even lift their arms to serve anymore? I'd be throwing in a lot of lobs just so I could take more time to catch my breath.
Guilt nags at me when I'm reading. I should be doing something useful. So I write until I fizzle out each morning, then do chores while listening to a book on tape. Guilt squelshed.
For me, it varies. But if the writing is going perfectly, it is hard to stop long enough to read. And if I am reading something and it is really good,it's hard to stop long to do anything else. Usually I read more often than I write. But at the moment I am writing more often than I am reading.
Simon Hay Soul Healer says
More time writng than reading books, but equal if we're talking about reading online. I have to shedule reading time these days.
Susan Kaye Quinn says
Definitely writing! But the poll surprised me. I wish I read more, but there's only so many minutes in the day.
Writing, of course. I fell in love with "writing" (narrative, telling a story) before I could form letters.
I actually find reading to be DRAG unless it's VERY good. I have no patience with anything less.
I think/know/believe that reading is important for a writer. But my reading goes in spurts. I try and write every day. I think I might write more words than I read per day – but the whole "having a job and making sure the apartment stays livable" thing sometimes gets in the way of reading as much as I would like.
For me, this is a suck and blow question.
And the blow of writing isn't matched word for word (or * for *) by the suck of reading.
Whatever — your boys dobbed the Algerians.
I absolutely agree with what KateCal said. Love both, but I could NEVER live without reading.
Having said that, I need to turn my reading/writing ratio around so that I can get my work accomplished.
Janet Sunderland says
I've spent years of my life reading, now I write more. And since I've read so much, for so long, I really have to have good writing. I'll pass along a book that absolutely captured me – Ransom by David Malouf. It shimmers the writing is so good. And I literally couldn't put it down.
Marian Allen says
I spend more time writing, because I consider just about everything writing. I'm always soaking up my surroundings, watching people, listening to speech, evaluating interpersonal relationships or speculating on others' interpersonal relationships.
Although I read every chance I get–newspapers, magazines, books, short stories, blogs–I edit as I read, which I count as writing. Why was that sentence so effective? Why can this writer smack me in the face with vulgarities that I accept as NEEDING to be there, when another writer's book would get closed and discarded?
And I blog. Dear God, do I ever. It's all writing. EVERYTHING is writing!
This is a bit of a tricky question. I have a 25 minute daily commute & listen to audio books (which is not exactly reading but in some ways, very much is. So that's 50 minutes guaranteed (longer sometimes) of reading time a day. Plus I read a real hand-held book too. Plus I read blogs.
And to be difficult I think reading is the more important activity because it always comes first. You can't write unless you read (but you can read and not write).
Reading. I don't think writing takes longer unless I include the editing and revising part. But to me, that's not writing. So, definitely reading. 😀
Lately, it's been more writing on my blog, but that's by default. in the past couple months, I find myself thinking about reading many different books and buying them but never actually reading them. I think I am burned out on what was historically my favorite genre (thriller/suspense) — the genre I write in — so I'm kind of lost reading-wise. Forget coming up with a new idea for a thriller, I can barely make it through one that's already published!
Danielle Thorne says
Writing…but mostly emails…not what I want to be writing.
I spend more time reading on some days and more time writing on others. I feel a writer has to do both. Must read to be a good writer and must write to be a good writer. The biggest drawback to being both is I find myself critiquing the books I read which can decrease the enjoyment of reading at times.
Joyce Shor Johnson says
I'm at the point where I read more. But I think it is because I am constantly rereading what I write, reading about craft, or reading as I critique. I do write every day, but it seems to in shorter and shorter bursts.
Kristi Helvig says
I picked writing only because you didn't give the 50/50 option–I do a fair amount of both but it varies depending on where I am in my ms.
I missed seeing that goal but it sounds like it was incredible!
Kathryn Magendie says
I read every night (with few exceptions); I write every day (with few exceptions).
But, if the hours were counted up, writing would win.
That's a trick question like asking which came first, the chicken or the egg?
I do an equal amount of both. I read to relax and take a breather from my writing, or when I hit a block I'll catch up on my reading. I think the two go hand in hand, you can't do one without the other (in regards to writers, I mean) If I don't read, I won't know how to write, and if I don't write…well then I'm just a very unpleasant person to be with in that case.
I write more than I read, but I find that if I do both consistently, I become a better writer. You can't write unless you read too.
Also, Nathan, huge soccer fan I see. Why can I picture you at one of those Eastern European soccer games where the fans are climbing over each other and going absolutely nuts?? Glad you're enjoying the games! 😀
Writing by far. Unless it's reading what I wrote…then it's probably a tie.
I write more than I read. And now with so much online, I find that I am reading fewer books, sleeping less, and wishing for more time.
KJ Bateman says
I am sorry to say- much more time reading. Reading is not a chore- I don't have to schedule time for it, whereas reading-anytime anywhere, often when I should be doing something else.
I wish I could say I read more. 😉 I love reading and it's a great way to relax, but I don't have enough time in the day. If I want to get writing done, it's going to be at the expense of other things I'd like to be doing, and sadly reading is one of the biggies. I get all of my reading done in a half hour when I eat lunch, or on the train on days I decide to not work in a notebook instead.
It's a shame because I'm reading the last book in a trilogy right now and it's amazing. I'd love to just sit down and finish it straight, but I just haven't had a chance to even crack it open in days.
Cyndy Aleo says
Reading. If you aren't reading, you shouldn't be writing. I giggle a lot at agents and editors who carp on Twitter about queries that all have the same theme. If you aren't reading, you have no idea what trends are popular or what's on the downswing, much less learn how to write. Books, blogs, magazines… it's a necessary part of the industry. Shoot, even for freelance writing I have to keep up with subject matter for whatever vertical I'm writing in.
Every single writing course I had in college had a ton of reading that went along with it, and I took that as advice for life.
Sara Murphy says
I'd like to say it's about half and half. When I do pick up a book I really get into it, so I barely write when I read.
Then I also read books/blogs/mags about writing. Even if you say they are writing realated, it's still reading.
In the past five years, I've written two books and writen and published a short story. Not too shabby.
Simon Haynes says
Writing – but I had to write two programs to help me. One to manage my novel writing, the other to block the internet.
When I am writing first draft I don't read (to avoid "style seepage") Right now I am writing a minimum of 2k words a day so I absolutely spend more time writing than doing any other single thing other than sleeping
ryan field says
I voted for writing…but I wish I had more time for reading. This might be a good "You Tell me" What do we wish we could do?
I voted for writing, since that's what's currently true, but sometimes I'll do a lot more reading than writing if I'm in the middle of a good book.
It depends. Before I begin a new piece I do a lot of research so read far more than write. Once I begin the manuscript I write more than I read.
I read constantly because I am in love with the written word. I read every day, often times an entire book. I feel that it enriches my life in so many ways and stimulates me to be a more convincing writer. The more I read, the more I want to write!
Melissa Gill says
For me it's reading because I can do so many other things while reading. I read while doing my pathetic job, eating lunch, dinner, whatever, walking on the treadmill and kniting (which I'm committed to doing for charity.)I can't write while doing any of those things (not that I haven't tried) So I get a lot of reading done during the day and then writing after I get home from the gym.
I have to read copious amounts for my work, but when I'm not at work it's nicer to write. Overall though, the reading wins out by far as I spend more time at work by far.
The Decreed says
Dempsey is doing just fine. He may not have the stats but the way he plays just looks darn pretty.
Good day all around to be watching ESPN, except Isner made sure that I couldn't get anything done all day.
Thus, today's numbers are reading: 0, writing: 0, sports: lazy 8.
Buffy Andrews says
Definitely more time reading. But I'm an editor so that's what I do all day.
Reading is easier and your chances of sucking while you read are slim to none. Plus, it's far easier to snicker at someone else's writing but not so easy when faced with your own prose.
From a book reviewer's perspective: Writing a novel is hard. Writing a book review, however, comes easy.
Reading. However, I don't let myself read until I have written something. I don't force a goal, I just let it come to a conclusion naturally. Then I reward myself with a good read. It works for me.
I read for an hour or more each day. Then, I spend six hours or more on writing, editing.
I'm reading two different novels and two different editing books right now. I read what I like depending on my need or mood. (Not the same.)
Reading is an inspiration. Writing is everything.
Ishta Mercurio says
I spend more time reading, to my great shame and frustration. I recognize that reading is a vital part of the job description, but how can I call myself a writer when I don't spend much time actually writing anything? I read in the car and every night before bed (because if I wrote right before bed, I'd never sleep), but I have to squeeze the writing in between kids, food prep, housework, yard work, blogging, critiquing for my crit group, husband, and friends, so there's not much time left for it. Aaarrrgh!
They're really just part of the same process–the writing is the attempt to get some kind of objective grip on my own thoughts about what I have imbibed. I go through half-year phases where I do one more than the other, but how can one be more important when they are essentially the same?
CFD Trade says
I spend more time reading to avoid writing. LOL!
Definitely reading. I enjoy writing, but reading is my joy.
Definitely writing. Sometimes it makes me sad. I love to read so much and it definitely helps me with my writing, but there is only so much time in the day. I used to spend two or three hours reading every night, now I'm lucky to get thirty minutes. I would say reading is the biggest sacrifice I've had to accept in trying to become an author.
ok. Congrats USA in the football.
Surely you should be talking about the American who is in a marathon of a match at 2 sets all 59 games all at Wimbledon.
I'm British and that match is all i can think about right now.
As to writing/reading definitely i read more. Its part of studying the craft to see how others do it.