I have a confession that I’m sure a lot of writers either wouldn’t admit to, or maybe don’t have a problem with.
I don’t read as much as I should.
Actually that’s unfair because it implies that I am reading a bit, but it’s not as much as I would otherwise like, when the reality is unfortunately, as of late, I haven’t been reading much of anything at all. My to read pile is massive, I keep forgetting to update Goodreads its so massive now, and it seems to be growing every day.
I’ve also been struggling a little bit with my writing, and it occurs to me that this is not a coincidence. Back when I was reading with regularity, the writing seemed to flow a little more freely than it has as of late, and I can’t help but wonder, is there perhaps a correlation between amount of reading done by an author and writer’s block, or lack thereof?
In fact the amount of research that exists on the subject of writers block is actually pretty staggering, just this past week in the New Yorker there was a whole big article entitled: ‘How to Beat Writer’s Block’. It’s a fascinating read, and I highly recommend it.
Don’t worry, I’ll wait.
There are a number of different theories out there as to how and why certain writer’s seem more prone to being blocked than others, and maybe my case is a fairly singular one. But I’m inclined to believe that in fact it’s not. And the statistics are sort of behind me on that. According to PEW, 76% of adults said they read at least one book in 2013. 76% while a great amount only accounts for one book during the entire year, rather than a multitude of books throughout the year. And the average amount for someone in America to have read is only five books in a given year.
It’s important not to get bogged down with statistics but what it shows is that presuming several thousand writers or people who write in any capacity are a part of that 76% who did read it’s curious to know how many actually also read more than 10 books in a given year. More than 20? And did it effect their writing in some significant way?
There’s no magical number of books that a writer should read, but it’s safe to say as many books as you possibly can, especially as a writer, can only help you in the end. I’d like to say this is my wakeup call, that I’m going to make an effort to read as much as I possibly can, and I am going to do that. But this probably isn’t going to be the last time you hear me complain, I should be reading more.